You won’t have time to give each team member the attention they need.
If every decision has to go through you, things will slow down, and your team will become unproductive.
And it’s impossible to be everywhere at once and keep across everything at a detailed level.
You need some captains.
Think of it as a sporting team.
Last year, my son played under 11’s rugby league. For those who don’t know how coaching works in rugby league, the coach is not allowed to talk to the players from the sideline, even in the junior competition.
They can send instructions out to the players via the trainer who runs drinking water out to the players in breaks of play, but they need the players to talk to each other on the field, and they need a captain to lead them.
(Warning: proud mum moment coming up but I promise it demonstrates a point).
The team, and the coach, voted my son in to be the captain for the final series. He had demonstrated that he could do it in a previous game, but in the finals, he took it to a whole new level.
He was constantly talking to the players, encouraging them, patting them on the back when they did well, consoling them and telling them it was ok when they made a mistake. And he stepped up his own game significantly and worked as hard as he could to give the team a chance of winning and to set a good example.
His coach was a phenomenal coach who set clear goals for the team. The boys knew what was expected of them, and they played for each other and for him. They wanted to make him proud. So when my son took on the captains role, there was no way he was going to let the coach or the team down.
Find your captains, the ones that will pull out all stops.
How do you find them?
Structurally, they tend to be your direct reports. But they need to be the right people. You’re looking for people who;
- Understand and believe in the vision, values and the plan of attack
- Have a high ‘will factor’ – they want to be there, and they want the team to succeed
- Are great leaders themselves
- Know their stuff so they can make smart decisions and get across the detail
- Are a safe pair of hands
If you have someone in a senior role within your team who you do not have faith in as captain, then they are the wrong person for the position.
In my last role, I ran a marketing department twenty people split into three teams, each team led by incredible captains. It took me a while to get the right people into the right roles, but when I did, it made a huge difference. We led the department together and I owe a lot of my success to them.