One thing that's really hard as our business grows is to learn to let go a bit. In fact, it's at that point that many small businesses fail -- when the owner, who has been used to doing things for himself, has to make the transition to managing employees and watching them do things, perhaps using different techniques or tactics than he would have done.
Consider: it's possible that what you see as "attention to detail" they see as "intolerable micromanaging."
Certainly, what you've done so far has allowed your business to grow. Does that mean that you're the only
one who can have good ideas about how to run the business? Does it mean that your way of doing things is the only good way of proceeding? Of course not!
Try to take an honest look at the "constructive criticism" you've been offering your workers. Is it really about where they're doing something that needs to be corrected
, or is it really more about where they're simply doing something different from what you would have done
? If it's the latter, "correcting" them is a problem.
Unless you're hiring unskilled children, your employees are all adults with intelligence and skills. Think about why you hired them in the first place. Did you hire people just because you thought they would be "yes men" who simply went along with everything you said? Or did you hire them because you wanted to take advantage of the unique skills and experience they could bring to the table?
If you've been hiring "yes men," that's a problem for the long-term health of your business. If you're hiring talented people but not turning them loose to do the jobs you hired them for, that's a problem for both short-term employee retention and
for the long-term health of your business. And it's bound to bring resentment from the people, who thought they were being hired for their own unique skills and talents, and instead feel as though they're simply supposed to be automatons doing your bidding.
Talking to your employees -- letting them know that you're aware something is wrong, that you want to retain them as employees, that you want honest feedback from them about what is wrong (with no repercussions, retaliation or revenge afterwards), and that you're committed to changing whatever is necessary to keep good employees happy and the business growing -- is not
a sign of weakness. The boss who insists that everything has to be done his way is actually demonstrating his insecurity and weakness. Strong, confident people are not afraid to seek feedback; they're willing to let their people make mistakes (and learn from them) without punishing them for trying something new; they're open to changing how they do things as the circumstances of their business change.
The fact that you're aware there is a problem is a huge plus in your favor! Many business owners lack that level of insight. Now, build on that. Get feedback from your people, if possible, and act
on what they tell you. Let go of some of your control, even if it leaves you feeling a little (or a lot!) uncomfortable. Your business is growing, and this is going to require you to step out of your comfort zone, try some new ways of doing things, if you want to keep growing.
It won't be easy, but the potential rewards are great. Best of luck!