Benchmark Business Group

How independent is your team?

July 3, 2018

Take a moment and think what would happen if, for some reason, you weren't able to work for the next three weeks. 


What would happen to your business?
  • Would work be done, on time, and with consistent results?
  • What knowledge would your team be missing? 
  • Where would they struggle? 
Too often business owners count on the fact that they will be in the office, at least five days a week; if not six or seven days. Which means you are there to answer questions and share your experience and knowledge.

Typically, it means that knowledge and experience lives within your head. It's not easy for someone else to take over or "own" the work they do, because the business is designed to depend on you.

Designing your business to depend on you probably wasn't done on purpose. It most likely happened organically. Dependency is a common design flaw that can stop your business from growing and wreak havoc on work/life balance.

And many times the answer is to transfer the dependency from you, to another key employee within your office. Yet, you know from preparing clients for their future that life happens. Life can easily cause you or a key employee to be out of the office unexpectedly. Will you be ready?

Creating independence starts by ensuring that your team has the structures they need to be able to own their position. (See Do You Have a Winning Team for more on putting the right structures in place to create independence.) But, it also has to do with making sure they have the right mindset to be independent.

There are simple changes that you can make to your own leadership that changes the dynamics of your employees. It helps them gain independence and truly "own" their position without being dependent on you.

Start by focusing more on asking than telling. Every time an employee comes to you with a question or every time an issue comes up, take a step back. Yes, it's easier to give an answer now and move on, but that will just create dependency.

Instead, ask one of the following when a team member comes to you with a question:
  • How would you handle this if I wasn't here?
  • What do you think we should do in this case?
Ask one of the following when there is an employee issue:
  • Do we have a system/work process or tool that would prevent this - if not, what do we need?
  • How can we prevent this from happening in the future?
Change the way you interact with your team and give them space to grow independent. Your business and your work/life balance will thank you.

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