How to delegate effectively to grow your business.
Delegating comes in two different forms when it comes to improving your business. You can delegate by outsourcing or, if you have a team, by moving tasks and processes on to some of them. When done effectively both forms can have a significant and positive impact on your business. The key outcome of the delegating process, and the reason you should be doing it, is to give yourself more time to focus on the strategic side of your business, to move it forward and grow it.
The first and most difficult part of delegating is letting go. This is especially true of business owners – resolute that no one will care as much as you do and will not do it as well as you can.
Well, you are right. No one cares as much about your business as you do – EVER.
However, they will care about the job that THEY do and will do it quicker, more effectively and to a higher standard than you ever can. Outsourcing to a supplier who has expertise in a particular area can give you a fresh approach to a task. Looking at things from a different angle or having a new pair of eyes on a particular job might introduce modern ideas and unique approaches to your work.
For managers, the want of being indispensable and the keeper of knowledge can make you difficult to work with. For you to be seen as a good leader, sharing is caring, be a guide and teacher. You can’t do everything yourself; it is not an effective use of your time.
So as difficult as it may be you really need to bite the bullet and LET GO.
The next element of delegating is knowing what to delegate. This is a crucial exercise but is worth spending time working through. Not all tasks or aspects of your business can be delegated. For example, administrative work is often seen as easy to pass on, however, the final stages of a sale might be a task you want to keep, especially if you do not have a sales team in place.
A useful exercise is to keep a log of what you do each day and work out how much of your time is spent doing something that could be delegated. If you find that 4 hours a week is spent on the telephone dealing with day-to-day queries this could be considered a useful task to delegate or outsource – imagine what you could do with those 4 hours?
Once you are clear on a task to be delegated then you need to consider who you will delegate this to. This is more straightforward for outsourcing externally as those organisations will be specialists in their fields. Internally this becomes about playing to people’s strengths.
Hopefully, you know your staff well and have an appraisal system set up that allows you to understand who is capable of what and who is looking to learn and grow. You will need to train them and make sure they have all the resources they need to deliver – don’t set them up to fail.
If you are a perfectionist there is a word of caution for you here – take a deep breath and allow the team or person to grow into the role. We all know how it feels to take on a new task and gain the knowledge that you need to be proficient.
Also, it is advisable that you delegate the whole process to one person or organisation. Don’t try to divide it up between a few – the adage more hands make light work doesn’t really work here as it can cause some confusion or crossed wires.
Now that you have made the decision about what to delegate and who to delegate it to, it is important that you communicate the information as soon as possible. This will allow the organisation or person to plan effectively and avoid unnecessary pressure.
Communication is a wonderful thing and the key to successful delegation. Communicate the vision, communicate the process and communicate what your expectations are. The clearer they are with this information the more likely they’re going to be on board. It can be useful to set targets or Key Performance Indicators to help measure the progress being made.
An additional tip for delegating successfully is to enable a level of authorisation. If your expectations and goals are clear and well communicated the person or the organisation that you’re delegating to should be able to have a level of decision making to ensure the efficiency of the work that they are doing.
You will need to monitor the work and, of course, be on hand to provide support and guidance. It Is always good to have a quick catch up on a regular basis depending on the task at hand. This will give you peace of mind that the work is on track and making progress. This also allows you to have evaluation points.
If you are not satisfied with the progress that’s being made don’t just take back the project or the task immediately. Try and have a conversation and understand where the barriers or the challenges are, it may be that you can do something about it together and therefore you can progress and continue but obviously, you may need to make sure that you are prepared to take it back if need be.
My final piece of advice is to make sure that if the person or organisation has performed well – reward them. If it’s an outsourced supplier and they’ve done an exceptional job – all businesses would love positive feedback publicly – give them a five-star review and share it on your social media.
If they are a member of your team hopefully you have a reward system in place. If you’re delegating to staff, it can improve motivation and engagement and help them feel valued so take advantage of this.