This article first appeared March 15, 2010.
Dear Aunty B,
Three years ago I left a large organisation to start my own firm with a partner, working on the venture capital space. We close massive deals and have been very successful.
I can walk into a room and close a billion dollar deal no problem. The issue is though that I am working horrendous hours because I do everything. I have tried hiring two general managers and I have just sacked the second. They didn’t do anything and I found the stress of keeping all the things in my head that they hadn’t done too much.
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I know the only way to grow is to reduce my hours and hire staff. But I also know it is my huge weakness. I am bad at hiring staff and managing people. I am also scared to fire now. Every CEO that I know has been done for bullying. I have to spend this week buying a phone system because I have no one to do it for us. Can you help?
Well, you are over the first hurdle in recognising that it is your problem. I know too many people running small businesses who are appalling people managers, yet constantly blame their failure on the poor quality of staff.
Here is what you must do. Try again. Use a recruiter to forward you CVs. Ask a business associate who is good at managing staff to sit in on the interview. Take your time looking for the right person. Have a good job description of responsibilities. You will need to hire someone with a lot of imitative who is not afraid of managing you and your partner and hiring and taking responsibility for the performance of staff.
Be open about how you work and the kind of assistance you are going to need.
Alternatively, take a partner into the business who can recruit, build and manage staff.
You must do one of the two or you will burn out.
Your Aunty B
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