Let me begin by noting, if you were looking to file for the Employee Retention Credit this year, heads up that the IRS isn’t processing any new claims through the end of the year.
This is an effort to keep you out of hot water if you shouldn’t be claiming the ERC and to crack down on any questionable claims resulting from aggressive marketing for it.
Now, with the September 15 business tax deadline behind you, you can take a short breath before the next one (coming up on October 16 if you filed an extension).
But of course, business owners don’t always have the luxury of taking a long breath. Particularly if you’re responsible for many aspects of daily operations. And that can lead to problems.
Burnout is a common issue for business owners. If you’re feeling it creeping in, you’re not alone. Many owners and managers find themselves overwhelmed with daily tasks and, more problematic, losing sight of the bigger picture.
The impact is both personal and corporate: exhaustion, decreased productivity, and even a decline in the business’s overall success. The goal of my note today is to give you ONE thing to change to help turn that ship around. Or if you’re not yet feeling the onset of burnout, let’s talk about one way to prevent it.
So here it is: embrace staff empowerment in the leadership of your business. Leadership and empowerment go hand-in-hand, but to do that, you have to stay out of the weeds when it comes to daily business management. Here’s a little story to illustrate my point…
Leadership and Empowerment for Business Owners: A Story
“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” ― George S. Patton
In the heart of a bustling city, there lived a renowned composer who conducted an orchestra known for its great potential. But this conductor began to grow dissatisfied with his orchestra’s performances, noting errors from his musicians that he himself would never make.
So, during the next concert, he left his post at the podium to hover behind the first violinist, pointing out the musical dynamics that were being missed as she played. The violinist’s notes faltered, and the whole strings section began struggling to stay on tempo.
The maestro rushed back to the podium and snatched up his baton to try to restore rhythm. But then he noticed a trumpet player struggling to keep up. He hustled over to bombard the player with unsolicited advice on breath control. The once-confident brass section’s notes wavered.
Running back up front, he waved his hands frantically to restore order. But the flute solo was approaching, so he tiptoed forward to whisper instructions. When she tripped up slightly on a particularly delicate trill, the conductor suddenly jerked the flute away and played the solo himself.
With each meddling gesture, the music limped along as the orchestra struggled to find cohesion and cadence. At the end of the performance, the audience responded with uncomfortable shuffling and polite but hesitant applause.
As this practice continued over time, musicians began to drop out, ticket sales declined, and once-loyal audience members lamented the day that the conductor stepped off the podium.
The moral of the story here is obvious: Empowering others is empowering yourself. You need to lead from the front, with the full picture in view, which your team desperately needs to stay on mission.
Good leadership is marked by the practice of empowerment. Instead of trying to lead each musician individually, the conductor could have empowered each section’s first chair musicians to coach the rest of their sections. Trust your team to handle their responsibilities and provide them with the guidance and resources they need to succeed.
Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple, understood the connection between leadership and empowerment. He once said, “It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”
Jobs recognized that by trusting and empowering his team, he could tap into their creativity, leading to the creation of countless groundbreaking products and a company leading the way in technology innovation.
Leading this way is better for your business, and your sanity.
Need a coach to help you identify areas where you can delegate your business and financial management tasks? Let’s talk:
Helping you lead from the front,
Emelia Mensa, CPA