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In my experience surrounding yourself with people aligned with your vision and purpose will take your business to the next level.

Through admitted trial and error I am now surrounded by a fabulous, hardworking, fully engaged team. It has made my life infinitely easier and my business something I’m proud of. It wasn’t always that way, I have lost a significant amount of time trying to train or motivate the untrainable.

I finally realised that the alignment just wasn’t there, they just didn’t buy into our purpose and vision. I learned the hard way that you can teach people skills but you can’t teach them values or mindset.

Now we strive to hire people who share our vision and purpose and will add value to our team… and then we make the most of their talents.

We’re all different, we have different strengths and weaknesses. As a leader you should have enough self-awareness to acknowledge that you aren’t great at everything. Identify those areas that aren’t your strongest suit, or those tasks you would rather not be doing… and delegate!

Giving up control can be a challenge for small business owners, we know our business best after all. I urge you to hand over some of the control, you will be amazed at what can happen.

Delegation is one of the most beneficial tools a leader can implement. When you give your team members control of a task, you are not only freeing up your entrepreneurial time to focus on the bigger picture, you are also building trust.

When you publicly acknowledge what a great job they are doing (and more often than not they will) the culture and commitment of the team will soar. We are all more likely to take ownership of a task we enjoy and we are good at.

In a recent bid to free up more of my time to focus on leadership we came up with a strategy to delegate more of my managerial and administrative tasks and at the same time develop and build the skills of our team members.

As a leader you must know what needs to be done and who is the best person for the job. Know what the job entails and communicate with them. How are they going? How long does it take to get the job done? I know there are times I’ve been very surprised at how long it takes to complete a task I’ve set. This knowledge gives me insight when it comes to assigning tasks in the future.

Once you know the task, now you need to match it to the person. How well you do this will have quite an impact on everyone involved and of course your business at the end of the day.

How well do you know your team? Do you have open communication? Are they comfortable saying how much they enjoy or loathe a particular aspect of their job? Open communication is invaluable.

Chat to your staff and find out what they enjoy, what other skills they have. Ask them to list their tasks and rate them from 1-10 on a satisfaction scale. Ask them to mention other skills they have that may be useful to your business or tasks they would like to have a go at.  You may be surprised.

We have a team member who has a great mind for detail, data, accounts etc. Not too long ago we found out that she also has a background in creative art and graphic design. We never would have guessed it. Our images and infographics have suddenly taken a turn for the better and she is enjoying a bit of variety at work and higher job satisfaction.

Research tells us that the success of your business is often determined by the team you have and how well they work. Jim Collins in his book Good to Great uses a metaphor of a bus ride with the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus and the right people in the right seats. He says that leaders of great companies focus on who they have on board before they worry about where they are going.

I tend to agree.

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