By Louisa Jaffe, TAPE CEO/President
One of the most daunting realities of any leadership position is the moment when you have to cast your ego aside and accept that, no matter how competent you are, you can’t run a company by yourself.
As TAPE has grown and as our vision for it has expanded, again and again, I have come to crossroads where I have to make difficult decisions. Even though I may have wanted to give input into every aspect of how TAPE should be managed, I realized both the inefficiency and impossibility in doing so. In the early days, it was fine for me to go to one networking event and my husband and business partner, Bill Jaffe, to head to another. Now, however, we have achieved a level of success, which afford us the resources to delegate many of these activities.
I soon realized that for TAPE to continue to grow I would have to let go and begin delegating more. I had to accept that my time was better spent focusing on TAPE’s “big picture,”—its future. Though it required a great deal of trust and I had to fight my own reluctance, delegating has made me a better leader.
For example, my background in the Army played out primarily in the public affairs arena. In industry, due to my decision to delegate some aspects of my work, I have been able to play to my most profound strengths – branding TAPE’s “public face.” I find that the more time and energy I allocate to messaging, the more TAPE expands its scope, capability, and revenue.
Recently, I have realized the need to travel more—a lot more—in order to engage current and potential customers most effectively. It required a great deal of rescheduling, but I now journey to 13 states (and the District of Columbia) to meet new customers and spread the word about TAPE’s capabilities.
Remember, “delegation” is not a dirty word. It does not simply mean taking something off of my plate and overloading yours. Instead, delegation is about making room on my plate and helping you do the same for all of us to share the load.
This process helped me to learn more about the company and answer questions like,
“Do I need to find more people, equipment, supplies or resources?” and “What things do I need to best do my job?” At every level of management, finding these answers and acting on them leads to increased capability, depth, and breadth for the company as a whole.
Don’t be afraid to delegate time-gobbling tasks to others (within reason). It allows you to be the most effective leader that you can be.
What are your thoughts on delegating? Send me your comments.