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Becoming a Leader, Not a Babysitter: A Guide to Empowering Your Team

Updated: Sep 16, 2023

In the life of a painting contractor, one of the most common yet frustrating roles that one has to play is that of a babysitter for their team. This tends to be a pervasive issue across the industry. Managers often find themselves trapped in this seemingly never-ending loop of constantly overseeing, correcting, and hand-holding their team members, without seeing any significant improvement in their performance. If you have ever found yourself in this unfortunate situation, you know the mental and emotional drain it puts on you and your business. However, the reality is that being a "babysitter" for your team is not what you signed up for when you decided to start your painting contractor business.

This article aims to shed light on the five main reasons why you find yourself in this predicament, along with actionable solutions to help you break free from the constraints of this role and transition into becoming an effective leader. By recognizing and understanding these issues, you'll be able to foster an environment where your team can grow independently and contribute to your company's success more effectively.

1. You're not Recruiting Year Round

The first mistake that many painting contractors make is not recruiting year-round. This is a common oversight that many business owners commit to, not just in the painting industry but across various sectors. They often wait until they're in desperate need of new hires before starting their recruitment process. But when recruitment is treated as an afterthought or a reaction to a need, the quality of your hires might suffer because you're forced to settle for whoever is available at that moment.

Instead, adopt a proactive recruitment strategy where you're constantly on the lookout for potential new hires. This doesn't mean you're constantly hiring. Rather, you're keeping an eye out for talent that could bring value to your company when the need arises. You are building a pipeline of qualified potential candidates, and when a position becomes available, you already have a list of strong candidates to consider. This way, you can continuously upgrade your team and make sure that only the ones aligned with your company's mission and vision stay onboard.

To recruit year-round, the key is to build your brand consistently. Your company brand should not just be an afterthought. It should be the foundation of all your business and marketing strategies. The stronger and more appealing your brand is, the more attractive it becomes to potential employees.

2. You Don't Have a Clear Vision for Your Business

The second reason why you might find yourself constantly babysitting your employees is a lack of clear vision for your company. This goes beyond having a mission statement hung up on your office wall. A clear vision is a comprehensive understanding of where you want your company to go, what goals you want to achieve, and how you plan to get there.

When your company lacks a clear vision, it often results in your team not knowing what is expected of them. They don't understand the direction the company is going, leading to misalignment and confusion. Without a clear vision, you cannot expect your team to buy into your goals and objectives. They won't be motivated to perform at their best if they don't see a clear pathway to the company's success.

To resolve this, it's essential to develop a clear and inspiring vision for your company. This vision should resonate with your team and be something they can align with. More importantly, communicate this vision to your team regularly, ensuring that it's ingrained in their minds and becomes the driving force behind their actions.

3. You Don't Have a Clear Vision for Your Employees

Not having a clear vision for your employees is the third reason why you're still babysitting your employees. This goes hand in hand with not having a clear vision for your company. If you don't have a clear plan for where your employees can go within your company, you'll end up with a team that lacks motivation and direction.

Developing a vision for your employees, often called a "mastery ladder", can solve this issue. The mastery ladder outlines the skills, education, and qualifications your employees need to advance in your company. This provides them with a clear path to success within the organization, thereby increasing their motivation and engagement.

4. You're not Training and Investing in Your Team

The fourth reason why you're still babysitting your employees is a lack of investment in their training and development. Many contractors view training as an expense rather than an investment. This mindset needs to change.

Training is an investment that pays off in the form of improved employee performance, reduced turnover, and higher customer satisfaction. Moreover, training should not be a one-off event but an ongoing process. It's crucial to provide continuous learning opportunities for your team, and not just in terms of technical skills. Leadership, communication, and customer service skills are equally important and can have a significant impact on your business's success.

5. You're Not Delegating

The fifth and final reason why you're still babysitting your employees is a lack of delegation. Delegation isn't merely about assigning tasks to your employees. It's about entrusting them with responsibilities and granting them the authority to make decisions within their area of responsibility.

By not delegating, you're keeping your employees in a state of constant dependency on you. This hinders their ability to grow and take initiative, keeping them stuck in their roles without any room for advancement. When you delegate, you're telling your employees that you trust them and believe in their abilities. This can greatly boost their confidence and motivation, resulting in better performance and less need for constant supervision.


Moving from a babysitter role to a leadership position requires a shift in mindset and practices. It involves recruiting proactively, having a clear vision for your company and employees, investing in training, and delegating effectively. By addressing these areas, you can transform your business, empower your team, and create a thriving painting contractor business that doesn't require constant babysitting.

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