I spend almost every workday saying the following things over and over and over:
1. “You need to bring in top talent to help you.”
2. “You should get someone else to do that.”
3. “No. Really. You should bring in someone else to do that.”
4. “Did you bring in help yet? YOU SHOULD BRING IN HELP.”
Do you see a reoccurring theme here? 😉 I’m passionate about building teams and hiring help because I’ve seen it completely change lives and companies. It’s the difference between 70-hour workweeks and taking Friday off because you can. It’s the difference between flourishing in the work you love – that only you can do – and burning out.
But I see so many people struggling to hire and then struggling some more once they do hire help. Most people aren’t even really sure where they’re going wrong!
After working with hundreds of clients over the course of a decade, I’ve noticed five common barriers. To make this more fun than a bullet-pointed listicle, I’ve created a bit of a quiz that will help you pinpoint where you’re struggling and where you can start to course correct.
So you’re struggling to hire help.
Or maybe you’ve hired help and it’s just not going the way you’d hoped. It feels like it’s more work than just doing it yourself!
Before you throw in the towel, spend two minutes on this fun little quiz. We’ll pinpoint where you’re stuck and get you pointed in a happier, more productive direction.
1. You’re thinking about hiring your first team member. If you were being really really honest, what would the job posting say?
a. “I’m going to give you assignments and then secretly redo your work. And then tell you that it’s “fine.” And then quietly resent you.”
b. “I’m totally overwhelmed with too much work, but I’m not entirely sure what I’d have you work on. I just know I need help!”
c. “All I need to hear is one ‘House Of Cards’ reference and that you went to Bali last year and you’re in. I want to hire people I like.”
d. “I like to talk on the phone with my team every morning and send a string of many multiple emails over the course of the day. That’s how we do it here. Cool?”
e. “I like to batch my work and work right up to the deadline. If that makes you uncomfortable … I don’t know what to tell you.”
2. You’re interviewing an applicant for an assistant. position. If you weren’t bound by social niceties, which of these would you say?
a. “Can you make an image that looks exactly like this? No. I mean exactly.”
b. “I know I’ve got plenty of work for you to do. What do you do for other people? How do you guys, like, structure that?”
c. “Eh. Carrie says you’re good so that’s enough for me!”
d. “I hate talking on the phone, but I love texting. We’re a text-only office.”
e. “I’m a pretty hands-off boss. I trust you to figure it out.”
3. You’ve just written a blog post that you KNOW people are going to love. Now it just needs to be uploaded, formatted, optimized, and promoted! Which of these sounds most like you?
a. You do it yourself because no one else can do it to your standards.
b. You do it because you know how and it should only take a few minutes, right? It will just take longer to explain it so why not just get it done.
c. You hand it off to your VA (assistant). You’re pretty sure that she mentioned she knew WordPress in her interview.
d. You pass it off to your VA. She’s done this once before so she should be able to figure it out.
e. You give it to your VA and then jump on the phone with her to talk through it. And send her a checklist. And then send her a follow-up email. That’s how you’d want your boss to treat you so that’s probably what she would want, right?
4. You’ve hired someone, but things aren’t going quite the way you’d hoped. Which of these things is happening?
a. The stuff they’re giving you is … fine but not great. You can’t help yourself. You’re always rewriting their already pretty-good tweets and editing the images they send you to make the font two points bigger.
b. They’re on retainer, but you aren’t really using them as much as you thought you would. You’re still doing lots of little tasks and then belatedly realizing that you could have asked your VA to help you with this.
c. Every time you chat on the phone or email, you’re blown away by their wit and pop culture references. You wish they lived nearby so you could hang out in person! But the actual work they’re delivering? That’s an entirely different matter.
d. You’re pretty sure you made your expectations clear, but when you get the work back it’s not what you expected. At all.
e. You verbally dictate what you want during the phone call. You assume they are taking notes, but the results suggest they aren’t.
Take a look through your answers. Which of these applies to you?
If you chose mostly As, you’re struggling because you can’t delegate.
Delegation can be surprisingly hard, but we’ve got you covered. Here are four thoughts you need to let go of if you’re going to delegate and some statistics-backed facts that will help you get on the delegation wagon.
If your attempts at delegation haven’t worked in the past, here’s how to fix them going forward.
If you chose mostly Bs, you’re not quite sure how you’re spending your time or where you need help.
You’re positive you need help, but when it comes right down to it, you’re so busy running the day-to-day aspects of your business you’re not sure who could help you and with what.
If you chose mostly Cs, your hiring process isn’t what it should be.
We’ve all made the mistake of hiring someone because we liked them, we shared a sense of humor or similar hobbies. Good friends and good employees are not the same things.
Or maybe you hired someone without an interview because they came highly recommended – from a friend whose work and communication styles are totally different from yours.
You can improve your hiring by doing your due diligence, perfecting your interview process, and creating a thorough, supportive onboarding process.
If you chose mostly Ds, you’re not sure how to communicate with your people.
You might think you’ve been incredibly clear with your directions and expectations, but everyone learns and communicates differently. You might absorb information by chatting on the phone and taking notes. Your VA might do best with emails and checklists.
We can also ruin our professional relationships when we don’t communicate our needs and desires openly and honestly. This will help you have the awkward, important conversations and here’s how you can get real, honest feedback from your team.
If you chose mostly Es, you don’t understand your people’s work styles.
Maybe you like jumping on the phone to hash out questions or running every edit by your team. But what if that’s not how they work? What if you’re inadvertently annoying and alienating them and that’s why you haven’t been able to keep a VA for more than five months?
Before you get started with a new hire, make sure you talk about how you work best and ask them how they work best. You’ll save yourself (and your business) so much stress!
Now, we obviously took a somewhat humorous approach with this quiz, slightly overstating the these five approaches to leadership. Maybe you don’t recognize yourself in any of these and you’re thinking “Well, I must have it all figured out! I encourage you to get really, really honest with yourself. If you take a hard look at yourself and your work habits, you might be surprised at what you’ll find.
Still have questions about hiring and delegating? Drop me a line and let me know what you are struggling with. I‘ll be able to point you to some resources and I might answer your question in a future blog post!
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