Hiring and Managing Your Team
As a business owner you might be familiar with this journey… At first it’s just you, flying solo doing all the things. Then you hire your 1st team member (probably a VA) and they take some tasks off your plate – yay! And as the business grows more and more things need to get done so you hire and manage your team with your 2nd and 3rd team members, and possibly more from there. (copywriter, designer, tech support)
And then all of a sudden you’re too busy again.
“Why is this happening, I’m paying all of these team members to take care of things for me. Why does it seem like I am back in the middle of everything again?”
Because managing a team is a lot of work – even an awesome team. Yes, even when you’ve got the right people, doing the right things with lots of skill and heart, someone still has to have their arms around all of it.
So if managing your team feels like A LOT, that’s because it is.
Here are just the Top 3 things that can eat up time and energy when it comes to managing your team…
1. Answering Questions
No matter how well a task or project is laid out, your team will have questions. Things you couldn’t have thought to answer ahead of time will come up. And if someone with the answers isn’t available to give guidance, tasks and projects will stall out. Many a ball have been dropped while a team member waits for a response.
2. Checking Work
No one wants to be a micromanager, and no one wants to have someone looking over their shoulder all day. But here’s the absolute truth: we have to inspect what we expect. A big part of leading a team is walking around ‘the office’ to make sure things are being executed correctly. As much as we might like to, we cannot assume things are happening the way we expect them to. Great teams do their best work when they are working with a manager who is active and engaged in the process.
3. Operating Without Systems
Speaking of process… businesses cannot run on people alone. Team members will come and go. Even the most loyal, been there since the beginning, can’t imagine the business without them team members will move on (or be unavailable) at some point. This is why documented SOPs are SO important… mission critical in fact.
A big part of managing your team is:
1) making sure everyone has processes to follow and
2) ensuring everyone’s processes get documented and maintained. Someone on the team has to own setting up systems.
Building and leading a team is not set it and forget it. It is a huge part of things running smoothly in your company. And if you’re feeling like you don’t have time for all of this (not to mention hiring, on-boarding and training), you don’t!
Once you’re beyond one or two team members it makes sense that you as the business owner have a hard time looking after the team. When you’re busy doing that, you are not busy doing the things only you can do for the business.
So, here are my top three tips for hiring to combat the three parts of managing your team that take up the most time.
1. Have a system for answering questions to manage your team.
Whether this is commenting on the task in your Project management tool, or a dedicated channel in slack like “questions for the CEO”, there has to be an expectation of how questions should be answered. Of course having a detailed plan and SOP helps if it’s a task that’s been repeated many times in the business.
2. Have a system to check work for your team.
Depending on the size of your team – do you have to check, Every. Single. Thing? Probably not. Also, and I know this can be hard to hear, but does everything need to be done in the EXACT way that you would do it? Also, probably not. I know its really hard to give up control and I DO NOT want you to diminish your expectations. But … different is not always bad. So inspect what you need … but do you REALLY need to change a little detail of the project just because it’s not exactly how you’d do it?
3) Write SOPs from the beginning – even when you don’t have a team.
Have you ever tried to do something in your business and thought “hmm… what order does that need to go in?” or missed a step when doing something. SOPs can be beneficial even as a solopreneur – they can save you from human error and save you TIME. Then, when you go to pass your first task to your team member, you’ll already be ahead of the game. So, while it might seem ridiculous to write YOURSELF SOPs, I promise it will be worth it in the long run.
If you’re ready to hire and need some help, check out my new hiring templates (being released Black Friday 2023) which come with a skeleton outline job description for a social media manager, executive assistant, product creation, and more. You’ll also get sample job applications and an onboarding checklist! Check them out here.
Interested in learning more about hiring? I’ve got a 4 part blog series about hiring – here is the first step.