Delegation & Efficiency
It all seems so simple to me. The larger your business gets the more opportunity you have to hire competent people you can trust to manage and be responsible for a facet of your business. The same effect is possible as a manager as you grant responsibility to an employee over a specific area.
There is an inherent level of trust that needs to be established and in the case of the employer, if you are having trouble trusting your employee with the responsibility, it may be a sign you hired the wrong person for the job.
Yet in multiple cases I have seen people get stuck in some kind of conundrum and the act of hiring more people or managing more actually makes the business less efficient. What some might call micro-management kicks in.
How is this happening?
I think the problem begins with the management vs. employee structure. When a company operates in such a structure it tends to produce and procure employees who play along with its structure. This structure creates a cycle which will always fail to meet its potential as responsibility comes by proxy.
If however, a company turns its gears in the opposite direction and hires employees of one as David Heinemeier Hansson suggests in Rework and stops trying to manage them, a company can really increase efficiency.
Managers of one are people who come up with their own goals and execute them. They don’t need heavy direction. They don’t need daily check-ins. They do what a manager would do—set the tone, assign items, determine what needs to get done, etc.—but they do it by themselves and for themselves.
I think a manager of one is not some mythical being that you must seek out. The fact is, most responsible adults are capable of managing themselves. We have, however, become so accustomed to managing our employees and prescribing things, that many employees fall into complacency. Because of this complacency, the employee never stands up and fights the structure. Things never get better.
Even when the employee does stand up, it’s in direct competition with his or her managers’ livelihood, so the system contains itself. Things never get better ever, right?
Well there’s still hope, but such things have to come from the top down and unfortunately you rarely see big changes like this once things start getting successful. Business owners fear large change as it equates to large risk. Keep in mind though with large risk, comes potential for large reward.