As a business owner, you likely started off your enterprise wearing many hats. You knew that if you were going to get your company up and running, you were the one who had to put in the hours and stay on top of everything. Now that you’ve reached that goal and have steady work coming in, it’s becoming more challenging to stay personally involved in everything.
It’s time to learn to delegate some tasks. When done thoughtfully and with care, you can use this strategy to help grow your business.
Why Delegating is Challenging for Business Owners
If you’ve become used to doing things for your business on your own, it can be difficult to delegate to others. You may feel as though no one else will be able to “look after things” as well as you can.
You may also have concerns that if you turn over control of the process to someone else that necessary tasks won’t get done. You say to yourself that at least you can hold yourself accountable if you’re the person who is in charge. The other side of the coin to this type of thinking is that by “not” delegating tasks to your team, it appears that you don’t really trust them.
How to Learn to Let Go and Delegate
When you allow yourself to let go of some tasks and let your employees have more responsibility, you can get more work done in less time. Your team doesn’t have to wait for you to attend to everything personally, and they feel more confident about their work if they can take on more responsibility with time.
1. Evaluate the skills and abilities of each member of your team.
This includes your own skill set. No one is equally skilled at doing all the tasks necessary to run a business. There are probably some aspects that you enjoy and find you have a talent for and others that are more challenging or that you just dislike. The same is true for all your team members.
2. Decide on the types of tasks you can delegate.
Routine tasks, such as booking appointments, answering simple questions or taking messages can be delegated to an in-house or virtual assistant. Arrange to have supplies delivered or pick them up at the store when feasible instead of spending time on personal shopping. Accounting and payroll functions can be delegated to a bookkeeper or an accounting firm.
3. When delegating a task or project, choose a specific person.
If you ask for volunteers for something you want to delegate, the best person for the task or project may not put themselves forward. Decide on the person whom you feel is the best fit and approach them directly.
4. Be Clear in your Instructions and Scope of Authority
The person who is being asked to take on a task or a project needs to know exactly what they are expected to do. Give your employee specific instructions about how much authority they have: Look after a series of tasks or project from start to finish, make recommendations that require approval and then finish the task, or simply complete a small task. Let your employee know when you expect the work to be completed.
Ask your employee to repeat your instructions to you to make sure they understood correctly. If what you hear is not what you intended to say, then something got lost in the communication. You’ll need to explain it until both of you are on the same page.
5. Check in on Progress but Don’t Micromanage
Your employee may not perform the task in exactly the same way that you would. As long as the work is getting done in a way that is safe and meets all legal requirements for your area, don’t get caught up in worrying about how it’s getting accomplished. Everyone has their own work style, and “different” doesn’t necessarily equal “wrong.”
Ask your employee whether they have the necessary tools and resources to do a good job. Let them know you’re available to help and offer advice, not to criticize. This type of teamwork is necessary if you want to be able to grow your business and be able to consider larger jobs.
What part of delegating do you find most challenging?