As hard working leader and determined CEO you have from the start waged a determined battle and have built a successful enterprise. You have persevered and sacrificed for years and have become victorious. Repeatedly through the ups and downs over the years you have ultimately won. And even beyond that your future successes hold a bright golden light of promise. You have been so driven that you don’t know what it feels like to just rest, at least for no extended time. You are used to getting up early and getting home late. Your mind is used to seeking out whatever challenge may greet you in any given morning and you march through your day with vigilant attention to detail. This is the making of a successful top executive.
So what does life hold for you in the future? That golden light of promise of continued expansion and lucrative business deals beacons you like a siren. Did you ever consider the day you would be compelled to delegate, to pass on the baton? Or did you have an image of yourself dying at the helm? Is your wife and family taking a stand? Do they want more of you? Are they saying it’s time to relax and have some down time before you die? Are you now faced with the prospect of delegating? Have you already been delegating? How is that going for you?
As an executive coach and therapist I often work with my clients separately and as a couple. I get to see both sides of the business and of the marriage. I hear the plaintiff cry of the wife and children who feel abandoned and of the executive struggling to please everyone and in doing so forgetting himself. I quickly learn that the executive’s problem with delegating is that he has to monitor those to whom they have delegated. Thus delegating presents a problem. My clients say, “I have to deal with even more emails every day than before and follow up and check on more people. In some ways I am more anxious and work more than when I did everything myself.” “Why is that?” I ask. The answer is universal. “If I don’t keep vigilant tabs on those to whom I have delegated I believe that the quality of the business will slide and if not continually watched, will eventually make the business fail.” This anxiety is universal. It creates a double bind out of which there is no escape. “If I stay I fail myself and my family. If I leave I fail the dream for which I fought all my professional life for and made happen.” I understand. It is a double bind. So I ask yet another question. A question that perhaps never occurred to ask yourself. “Would it be OK for your dream to fail now?” (To be continued.)