If all goes well in your business, you will reach the point when you to decide to share your leadership responsibilities with another person. How do you find such a person? What do they do? Can you trust them with your business while you're away?
Finding the right person to be your 2IC (Second In Command) is a higher-stakes challenge than finding your next employee. But, if you have been diligent in hiring only those individuals who share your core values, you already have a pool of potential candidates at hand.
Because they share your core values, you can be confident that they will respond appropriately to situations as they arise, even when you are away.
This doesn't mean they are your clone. Their leadership style or personality should complement yours, rather than be identical. Use the need for sharing your duties as an opportunity to enrich the capabilities of your leadership team.
If you are an optimistic, big-picture, extroverted risk-taker, bring someone in who is more conservative, detailed, and process-oriented. They share your core values so you can be confident that your debates about how to best respond to an issue don't represent disagreement about the end goal.
Having multiple styles on your leadership team will help you address some of those persistent issues that you have been unable to successfully tackle because of the limits imposed by your personal style.
Ideally, you were looking for potential leaders when you hired junior employees. But, if you don't have the right 2IC candidate internally, then look outside. Be sure that the first filter you use to screen candidates is your core value set. Don't compromise at all here, because everyone in a leadership position is a powerful model for junior employees, especially with respect to values.
Think about how you spend your time, when deciding how you and your 2IC will share your duties. Which activities are you best at and enjoy the most? Try to create time for yourself to do more of these, by giving duties you are less effective at and enjoy less to your 2IC.
This is another reason to appoint someone with a personality different from your own. Partition your duties according to your comparative strengths and preferences. If you do this well, a higher proportion of your current duties will be done by someone who is better suited for and enjoys them.
Finally, be explicit in the partitioning process. Develop clear mandates for both of you, setting out authority (decisions to be made), responsibilities (work to be done), and accountabilities (results to be achieved). This will help you resist micro-managing your 2IC.
Once you give them a mandate, give them clear space to fulfill it and grow. Be there for support and mentorship, but remember that you deliberately chose someone with a style that complements your own. Don't expect them to operate the same way you do.
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