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By Tommy Mello, Owner A1 Garage Doors, a $100M+ home service business.

I saw four home service entrepreneurs at an event in February. Each person is worth millions and millions of dollars. Here’s the one thing they said that ALL great leaders should do: Don’t be great at everything. Instead, be very good at a few things. Then delegate the rest!

Simple advice. But I can tell you that most leaders don’t get it. Myself included.

It took me years to internalize this, and I’m still learning. As our business has grown to 400+ employees this year, I’m stretched for time. I often just delegate and expect the task to get done.

And that’s a dangerous mindset to be in.

Top Leadership Killer: Expect, Don’t Inspect

Here’s the thing. Employee empowerment and recognition are all so important. That’s what keeps great people around. We’ve been doing a big push over the last few years to make that the core of our culture.

But trust without verification can lead to a series of nightmares—whether it’s people not following instructions and making customers mad, or worse still, employee fraud.

So as leaders, this is the mindset we need to be in: Trust and verify.

Do both at the same time. Each employee should get all the support AND accountability they need to succeed. They will be happy, and your business will grow too.

But how do you trust and verify? Here’s what we have done and are doing:

1. Verify before you hire.

If you start verifying after you’ve hired someone on board, it’s too late. You want to do it well before you bring them on. Ask yourself these two questions:

• Are you hiring for the right role at the right time? Have your organizational chart updated, and review that before you post your job ad. You want to hire quality, not quantity. Growing a business—especially beyond the seven-figure mark—is about putting the right people in the right seats.

• Is this person the best person you can find for this role? Skill is one thing. But does that candidate have integrity? If you leave the room, will you trust them to do the right thing? Run multiple background checks, call their last bosses and do multiple interviews.

2. Make accountability a win-win.

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You can’t just go in there and tell your employees that you want to check their work. That will kill employee motivation. Instead, frame it as “I want to work with top performers. So I’m going to train you and make sure we all win.”And you don’t even need to say it outright! If you have robust onboarding, training and delegating processes, people will get the message that they can’t muck around.

Have detailed written manuals and/or training videos for each role. Focus on two things: what the KPIs are, and what the process is to hit those KPIs. New hires especially need these resources, since they need A to Z to deliver the results. I’m not exaggerating.

For our new technicians, they want a 70-point process. They want to know where to park, when to smile, what to say, how to pet the house dog… OK, my point is that every detail matters. If you want your business to grow consistently, you need to make sure people know exactly what to do, how to do it and when to do it. In other words, teach them how to win.

Once you have these training manuals or videos, measure your employees’ progress. Remember, what gets measured gets managed.

3. Turn yourself into a delegation machine.

First, have a delegation process for yourself as well as your execs and managers. Again, detail! Here’s our 8-Step Delegation that you can use and/or adapt for your own business:

What needs to get done

Why it needs to get done

When it needs to be done by

How urgent this is, i.e., what’s the priority

What you have available to get it done

What consequences there are if the task isn’t done

How to check on the progress being made

Did the task get done and what feedback is needed

Now, this all sounds fantastic, but if your business is on a larger scale, you may lack the time to delegate so precisely. Try speed delegation. Have an assistant check your emails, give you a list of answers you need to provide and then record each answer on video—with as many details as possible—in two minutes or less.

Are you teaching your employees well?

In the last couple of weeks, I’ve been thinking about how I can grow more as a leader. And the mistake I’ve made is the same mistake I mentioned at the beginning: I expect my team to think like me and come up with all the solutions, and they never will.

And I realized that it all comes back to me—I am the founder and leader! So, if they don’t know how to do something, I did not teach them well. I did not delegate well.

So ask yourself: “How can I delegate and teach my team better?” Your answer determines how good of a leader you will become.

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