There’s a whole new meaning to “the devil is in the details.”
Have you ever worked with a CEO who obsessed over the details of their company? One who lead a team of hundreds of employees, yet found themselves worrying about and supervising the small things, attending low-level meetings and dealing with matters their employees should handle? If you know someone like this, you’ve probably witnessed them busying themselves with things you’d consider a waste of their time.
To bigwigs who function like this, they think they’re focusing on important details—like responding politely to negative online reviews or fixing a camera that keeps malfunctioning. Instead, behavior like this reveals a boss who spends his time in the minutiae of things rather than developing the grand vision of the company. It reveals a leader who doesn’t know how to properly delegate responsibility.
Leaders: If this is you, you may not like the advice we’re about to offer. Hang tight and finish reading—this is a change you’d be wise to make.
Former President Ronald Reagan’s biographer once wrote about the day he took over for Jimmy Carter. Carter was worn out, frazzled, and frustrated with Reagan because he seemed so disinterested in Carter’s lists, charts, and schedules (he even kept a schedule of the tennis court usage!). The biographer explained that Reagan’s demeanor frustrated Carter because Reagan didn’t concern himself with the small stuff—he hired the best to handle that for him. Rather, Reagan believed that the role of the leader was to set the vision and urge the nation to get behind it.
As a leader of a group of people, your job is to see the big picture—the goal—and develop a plan to get your company there. If you spend your time doing the things your employees were hired to do, does your company really need you? What they truly need is someone who can understand where the company is, visualize where it should be going, and be formulating the plan that will successfully move it from Point A to Point B.
So, leaders. It’s time to step up, pick your head up, and set your sights on the horizon. It’s O.K. to delegate the little tasks you want to take care of yourself—in fact, it’s better that way. Your company today (and your company of the future) needs a visionary leader who can lead it into greatness.