By Dew Merridew
When you’re growing your business, one major obstacle is figuring out how to empower your employees to take initiative and ownership in their work—so you can focus on the bigger picture and be less in the weeds. It’s a struggle that many restaurant operators face, and Eric from Puff Truck Pizza is no exception. But being a micromanager is bad for everybody—it wastes your time, gives employees a negative work experience, and leaves everyone unhappy—which increases turnover and costs!
In this article, we’ll take a brief look at how an operator can “delegate and elevate” by empowering their employees with ownership of duties and refocusing their attention on the big picture operations. This not only grows the skills of your staff but also helps keep them engaged and retained as they’re learning new skills and have authority over their work.
Delegate and elevate
Micromanaging is a hard habit to break, but it’s necessary to do so for the growth and success of your team and business. Here are a few ways to check in with your team and change your behavior to delegate and elevate with success.
Get feedback from your team—what tasks do they want more ownership in? In what areas do they need more guidance and support from you? What other suggestions do they have for your management style? This is a hard, ego-less thing to do, but as a manager, you need to be open to the feedback, no matter how critical—it’s the only way you’ll improve. (Tip: using a tool like Shift Feedback can help you gather this information)
Prioritize your tasks—determine what work is critical for you to be involved in, and what isn’t. Start by writing down tasks you and your team do every day and making notes of what’s crucial for an operator to be involved with, and what a team member can handle by themself. If you’re writing your own name down next to too many items, reconsider where you focus your time. Leave the guest management and inventory process to your team (that’s why you hired them after all), and focus more on the overall operations and administration of your restaurant.
Talk to your team—close the loop with your staff by communicating your next steps to your team. “Have a conversation about the things that really matter to you—the things that they’ll need to seek your guidance and approval on—so your direct reports can get ahead of your anxiety” reports Karen Dillon, author of the HBR Guide to Office Politics. Share with them your plan of delegating and elevating so they know what’s expected of them and how you may change things up in your management style.
Elevate—now it’s time to do what you set out to do—elevate yourself by empowering your team. Leave the tasks prioritized to them, but set up a semi-frequent meeting to check how things are going. Fighting your micromanaging impulses may be difficult, so moving back slowly is a great way to ease into the transition. Don’t be afraid to check in with your team, but keep it to the booked meetings, and try to avoid crowding them in the beginning. Team meetings should now be your go-to to get caught up and make sure everyone is empowered and on the same page.
Stay connected—keep an eye on how your team is doing and ensure there’s open communication between all parties. Ongoing communication is an important part of this process succeeding, so use a tool like 7shifts for things like Feedback and chats to keep your team engaged and you informed.
Making the transition from micromanaging to empowerment of your staff is difficult, but researching how to do so is a great first step you’ve just taken. Just remember—the time you spend micromanaging is time lost on other vital areas of the business that need your attention.
Basic utility is something that can be commoditized, replicated and replaced easily. Existing business owners want partners that dig in with them. 7shifts brings value through direct support to thousands of restaurants and over 400,000 employees. It’s their ability to scale one-on-one relationships that makes Best Served thrilled to have 7Shifts underwrite Best Served New.
Dew Merridew is the Brand Strategist at 7shifts, a technology platform built to help restaurants manage their labor. Dew cultivates 7shifts' social and content garden and is always looking for new ways to grow the 7shifts network of restaurateurs, local talent, and tech companies. In their free time, Dew enjoys playing video games, trying out new recipes, and playing with their three cats.