If you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, you have had to assume various roles and wear many hats. When a business is in its earliest stages, its owner will have to do it all. However, once your business expands, it’s crucial to learn to delegate well to grow your business correctly and maintain efficiency and productivity.
Delegation Tip 1: Forfeit Pride & Control
True success doesn’t come single-handedly. Even if you have built your business from scratch and are used to handling most things yourself, there is no shame in needing assistance.
To ask for assistance, you have to give up pride, ego, and control. Asking for assistance by delegating tasks in earnest and with sincerity are qualities of a great leader. It may feel initially uncomfortable for one who’s used to doing everything themselves, but putting trust in others’ abilities is the only way to ensure your business’ growth.
Delegation Tip 2: When and What to Delegate
Before delegating a job, there are some essential factors to consider that would make delegating the task worthwhile. Ask yourself:
- Is there someone on your current team or close circle with the necessary skills and expertise to do the job well without too much training?
- Do you have the time, ability, and patience to give the person you are delegating the information and training they need to succeed?
- Is this a one time job or a recurring task?
These are cases where delegation would be your best bet. You should not delegate if the task is so essential to your business that you must handle it personally, or if not handling it properly may be detrimental. As the business owner, only you will be able to make this decision.
Delegation Tip 3: Who Do You Delegate to and How?
You’ve gone through the checklist and know that you’ve got a job that needs to be delegated. Now what? You must choose the best person available for the task.
First, examine your resources. You may have a decent-sized staff or a two or three-person operation. Within your limitations, who can best get the job done without a lot of effort on your part? And who can do it without being overwhelmed?
Here are two contrasting scenarios for who to delegate to and how best to approach each type:
Experts and Outsourcing
Clearly, the most desirable option would be to get an expert or highly-skilled individual within your company to handle the task. They’d likely need less instruction and energy from you and could potentially teach you a thing or two. While this is the ideal scenario, it’s not always available. Perhaps you are a company that does not have staff with that kind of experience, or that expert’s time is otherwise committed.
Outsourcing or hiring outside of your internal workforce to delegate can be a smart option for certain tasks, particularly those requiring unique skill sets or a high level of expertise. These are times when delegating to an expert is best, especially if you don’t have the time, workforce, or ability, and the job must be done right.
Interns, Assistants, and Lower-level Staff
Having experts on hand or hiring outside of your company may not be an option. You may not have the pool of talent internally or the resources to outsource.
In this case, it is best to turn to lower-level staff such as assistants or interns. This will take more patience and time on your part, but the effort and energy put in may be far more rewarding than you’d expect.
The time you invest in instructing the person will pay off in the long run. If the job can be delegated to that individual fully, once they’ve got a grasp on it, that task is out of your hands.
Another benefit is that if you take the time to train someone, you’ll offer them a new skill set, build their confidence, and make them feel that they are a significant part of the company.
Here are a few things to consider when delegating to someone new to the job:
- Do they have any preexisting skill sets, experience, or expertise to contribute to the task and make teaching them easier?
- What is their learning and working style?
- Does the job align with this person’s role in the company and/or their goals?
- Outline responsibilities, expectations, boundaries, authorities, and accountability. For example, if the task is to research and write up a report, are they in charge of sending that to the client, or are you? Etc.
- Allow for questions, however obvious they may seem to you. Remember, you are familiar with the task, but it is new to them.
- It is up to you to check-in, follow up, and be sure the person you delegate things to meets the expectations. If not, or if mistakes occur and revisions are required, how can you communicate that clearly while being supportive and encouraging?
The fact is that there are never enough hours in a day for one person to do everything or everything well if they are overwhelmed and exhausted. Your time and energy may also be better spent elsewhere within your business. So forfeit your pride and replace it with trust.