Delegating is both a challenge and a liberating move. It is a challenge for entrepreneurs who believe in doing everything themselves and having control over everything going on in their business. It is liberating once they realise that they should focus on the core operations and trust their employees to take care of the less critical tasks.
Delegating tasks and business functions is, ultimately, the only way in which your business can grow from a start-up into a mature organisation, with potential for further development and success. Letting go of certain aspects of running your business cannot be done overnight, though. It is wrong to surrender control too eagerly and without planning, just as it is wrong to hold all the reins in your hands for too long.
Today we would like to share some helpful advice we collected after discussing with several successful entrepreneurs, who were more than happy to share their experiences on the daunting task of delegation.
1. Build a Star Team
If you want to be the shining star on your company firmament, you will never delegate operations efficiently and successfully. You must not be afraid to hire people who are better than you in certain aspects of the business. Indeed, you should strive to find people who have superior skills and experience than you in different business areas, so that together you form a star team.
If you know that a team member is better at logistics than you, then you will have no qualms about delegating this area of business operations to that person – they will do a better job than you anyway.
2. Empower and Create Accountability
One of the worst forms of delegation is the semi-delegation. In many ways, semi-delegation is worse than not delegating at all. You assign tasks to people, but you tell them how to do the job. Every once in a while you look over their shoulder to see what they’re doing and then you demand detailed reports about every little thing they do.
This attitude is so toxic, that it can threaten the future of your business. Your employees will never feel empowered and will believe that you don’t really trust them at all. You will not be able to focus on strategies to grow your business. And when something goes wrong, no one will assume accountability. So, do the exact opposite of the scenario we’ve just described: trust your employees’ judgment, and they will learn to be accountable for everything they do.
3. Document Processes
The easiest way to ensure permanent delegation of certain tasks to new team member is to create a process flowchart. Describe the regular activities, the expected outcomes, who is reporting to whom and what are the performance criteria against which each employee will be reviewed. You will be surprised at how effective and smooth delegating will become in your business when everyone has a go-to source of information to check when they are not sure what they are supposed to do, instead of knocking on your office door.
4. Delegate Authority with the Task
Can you imagine the mayhem in a large company, where each accountant has to go to the CEO to get the OK for a small expenditure, and every HR assistant needs a signature for every staff-related internal document? Nothing would be effectively done in that company. This is why, together with the task and the accountability, delegation must also include authority. The person who performs the task should be given the freedom to take decision within their scope of work and department. It is the only way in which they can actually perform those tasks to full completion.
5. Do Not Demand Perfection…
…because you cannot offer it, either. Let us admit, we are human and we are bound to err once in a while. As professionals we strive to minimise these errors, but we cannot fully eliminate them. Expecting perfection, and interpreting every small mistake as a sign that you should not have delegated that task, will get you nowhere. In fact, YOU may have made a bigger mistake in that situation.
There you have it: delegating work is not easy, but it is necessary. And now you know how to do it effectively and stress free.