Delegation is an essential part of running a successful business. After all, as a business owner or manager, you cannot do everything yourself. Understandably, when you are used to doing most of the work yourself, as you did when just starting a business, then letting go can be a bit of a challenge. Thankfully, here are some tips and strategies you can put into action that will make delegation more effective.
What is Delegation, and Why is it Necessary?
Delegation in its most basic form is the transferring of responsibility for a job or task into the hands of another person, team member, or company. It is imperative for a well-organized operation. In fact, according to a Gallup Study, if your company excels at delegation, you will generate 33% higher revenues than if you don’t delegate enough. Now onto how to actually put delegation into place within your organization.
1. Decide Which Tasks Can be Delegated
Often the first step of effective delegation is considering what tasks could be delegated off your plate. In other words, this is a look at what tasks could be handled by someone other than yourself, and the converse of that as well, considering what tasks need your personal attention. Then, you move to select the right person.
2. Choose The Right Person For The Task
Speaking of people on your team, the next step is to look over your team and consider the skills and experience needed for each task. Then, assign these tasks to each team member based on their strengths and what they can adequately and/or successfully handle.
3. Provide Clear Instructions
Next, you need to make sure that your employee understands exactly what is expected of them with regard to the task you are assigning. Also, ensure they have all the necessary tools and resources to complete the task in question. Don’t frame this in a condescending way, as if you are talking down to them. Instead, offer instruction in a way that makes them feel valued, yet guided and provided for, not left to fend for themselves.
4. Give Feedback
After you have delegated to the right person, assigned the right task, ensured that they know what is expected of them as an employee, and given them the tools necessary to do the job, it’s important to offer feedback. Feedback is essential for an effective delegation. Your employees need and deserve constructive feedback in order to improve and grow. Keep in mind, feedback is a positive evaluative conversation. It is not negative criticism.
5. Trust Your Team
At its root, delegation requires trust. You as an owner or manager have to trust your team to finish their assigned task on time and in the correct manner. Micromanaging your team is counterproductive and can lead to decreased motivation and engagement. Not to mention that it can be very aggravating for the employee in question who is not left alone to finish the job assigned to them. Don’t be a hindrance to the process once you have assigned tasks. Be available if your team has questions or clarification.
Reasons You Might be Hesitant to Delegate, but Shouldn’t Be
There are many reasons that could be behind a manager or owner not delegating as much as they should. The following are a few of the most common. If you find yourself in any of these examples, you know it's that much more important for you to focus on delegating as it isn’t something you tend to do naturally:
You feel guilty for adding work to someone else’s to-do list.
People want to feel like they are part of a team for their skills to be recognized and valued. If it's a task that is within their job description or skillset, they may actually be better or more efficient at it than you are. There can be times when your failure to let go of something is keeping the company from growing. You can always reward employees for taking on additional responsibility by giving them bonuses, extra vacation days, prizes and/or public recognition for their support.
You enjoy certain jobs that you don’t want to reassign.
Sometimes not wanting to delegate has nothing to do with you not thinking an employee is capable of doing the task and everything to do with enjoying it yourself. However, if your team overall would be better served by delegating, you have to do what’s best for your company as a leader.
You think it’s too hard to delegate because it takes time to explain the task.
This one makes perfect sense, especially in businesses that are immensely busy and don’t have enough help. However, taking the time to explain a task once or twice will save you time in the long run even if it might take you longer at the moment.
You want to feel valued and irreplaceable.
This too is understandable as everyone wants to feel worthwhile and an important part of the team. However, you have to understand your worth as a manager and leader is found in what you can accomplish through other people and no longer about what you can accomplish by yourself. In leadership, your success is determined by the success of your team.
You lack trust in your employees.
If you don’t feel your team is capable of completing tasks you need to ask yourself some hard questions. It's either a matter of the fact that they "can't" or that they "won't." If they can't, then you need to provide the training and support so that they can. If they won't, then it's more of an attitude or work ethic issue. It may be in your long-term best interest to hire better-qualified and skilled team members who have the attitude and initiative your company needs.
Delegation is an Important Management Skill
Delegation is a critical skill for any business owner or manager. In fact, effective delegation can help you free up your time, improve efficiency and empower your team, all of which lead to a healthier work environment.