By Michael Gunther
“My team doesn’t take responsibility.” “I have to solve every problem.” “No one is accountable but me.” Have you uttered any of these statements? If you have, step back and look at the whole situation. It’s very likely that your leadership style is actually the problem.
The Bottleneck Syndrome is one that every leader battles at some point or another. As leaders evolve from ‘entrepreneur who does it all’ to ‘leader of a thriving company,’ it’s admittedly very difficult to let go of the reins and trust in your team’s abilities. However, the leaders who succeed in scaling their business are the ones who acknowledge that they’re the bottleneck and work hard to change their behaviors. Cultivating relationships with your managers and employees will make them feel empowered to lead on their own, leaving you to focus on bigger picture duties to grow your business.
Follow these steps to unleash two-way communication and stop being the bottleneck.
Adjust How You Solve Problems
Stop being the ‘white knight’ sent in to solve everyone’s problems. It’s apparent that you have the skills to problem-solve — that’s how you reached this level of business in the first place — but now it’s time to teach those skills to other people and take a step back. This allows you to evolve as a leader and gives your team your trust to be accountable.
Learn How to Manage Your Team
Before you can teach a new generation of leaders how to lead, you have to learn how to let go. Hire a business coach, read a leadership book, and/or attend my upcoming webinar on this topic to find out how to accomplish this integral step. The transition from doer to coach/teacher befuddles many bottleneck leaders. That’s a normal step in the process.
Stop Doing Everything
Bottlenecking happens when you refuse to give up control because you don’t trust your team. Stop micromanaging and trust that your people will take responsibility for their decisions. Once they learn that you trust them to move a project forward, they will step in to lead and make decisions. Anytime a team member comes to you with a problem to solve or question to ask, turn it around on them. This is part of the coaching process; it’ll be time-consuming at first, but worth it in the end.
Become a collaborative leader by creating authentic, purposeful and impactful collaboration with your team. As you struggle with your new leadership role, recognize that your team is struggling too. Lean on each other in an act of support, empowerment and trust. As you rebuild relationships based on trust, the company will achieve a sustainable bottom line to support future growth.
Stay tuned for more information on how to sign up for our upcoming webinar. In the meantime, download our free white paper to learn more about overcoming the Bottleneck Syndrome.