One of the keys to increasing your productivity, growing your business and scaling up your operations is DELEGATION. As a business owner, you can’t do everything, and even if you could, you don’t have all the time it takes. If you decide to keep doing everything by yourself, you won’t be able to grow your business beyond a few customers that you alone can attend to.
Delegation opens your business up to growth. Apart from the fact that you can now serve more customers, you will be able to save up time for more important management and strategic activities in your business, and you will also have time to take care of yourself.
However, delegation is beyond just assigning tasks to people. Many business owners have been frustrated because the jobs they assigned to others were messed up, and they had to redo everything themselves after wasting time and resources. So, we’ll be looking at the important steps you should take when delegating tasks, to ensure that you get the right results.
1. Identify the Task
The first step to effective delegation is identifying what tasks should be delegated. Ask yourself: “What am I doing that is of lesser importance or better done by someone at a lower paygrade?” Delegate things you can’t do, delegate things must not do yourself, delegate things that would cost you less (time, money, other resources) if done by someone else.
2. Choose who to Delegate to
Now that you’ve decided on what should be delegated, the next step is to find the best person who should handle that task. Consider skill and competence; is there someone who can do it better and faster than you? Also, consider interest; is there someone who enjoys doing it more than you do? It is possible you may have several persons you can assign it to, so consider willingness, trustworthiness, availability, etc., and decide who is the best person for the task.
3. Clearly Define the Task
This is a very important step and it is where things begin to go wrong most of the time. Not clearly communicating what needs to be done ruins the outcome even before the job is started. Paint a good picture of the desired outcome. Ask questions and get feedback from the person to ensure that they understand clearly what you want to be done. Please remember that this is about the WHAT, not the HOW (allow them some freedom to be creative; don’t micromanage).
You should also clarify the level of responsibility, authority and accountability you are giving them.
4. Supply the Resources Required
Now that they know what you want them to do, it’s time to equip them for it. What do they need to get the job done? Training? Money? Equipment? Materials? Information? How can they get these things? Before you leave the person to do the job and come back on the due date to meet an unfinished task, find out if they have all the resources they need, or if there are challenges in any area. For instance, if your staff working remotely does not have a power supply, that can delay jobs.
5. Agree on Milestones and Deadlines
Set deadlines and let them be known by all the people involved. When should the task be completed? If it’s an ongoing duty, when are the review dates? When are the reports due? And if the task has parts or stages, what are the milestones?
One strategy that can help you is to give them deadlines that are some days before the actual time you need the job completed. That way, if the person doesn’t meet up, you may still be able to come up with an alternative solution.
6. Monitor Progress and give Feedback
While you are not trying to take over the work, you should still be available for questions and check up on them from time to time, to ensure everything goes well (especially if it’s an ongoing duty or a task that will take a while to be finished. That way, you save yourself of surprises at the 11th hour. Let the person or team know how they are doing.
7. Review and Give Credit
When the task is completed, review with them and let them know how they did. If done well, don’t hold back your praise and remember to pass on the credit. In the case of a failure, let them know their mistakes and let lessons be learnt on how things can be done better next time. Also, evaluate if you could have done anything differently about how you engaged them for the task.
When properly done, the benefits you get from delegation are amazing. Yes, you get the time to focus on higher-level tasks, but that’s not all. It also helps you grow your team and build up people as a leader. It will help them improve in responsibility, accountability, and creativity.
Delegating properly develops and enhances trust and communicating between you and your team. It improves efficiency and productivity in your business.
If you need help training your staff on core skills that can help them become more valuable employees who are able to accomplish tasks with minimal supervision, reach out to us, and we’ll be glad to help.