Delegating specific tasks to others in your business is not easy!
There are many ways to assist with the growth of your business. One simple way is to delegate responsibilities to others who can do specific tasks just as efficiently and accurately as you can, even though at the beginning, you may not think so.
Delegation is a touchy subject with business owners. Many do not want to give up the control of knowing exactly how and when things are being done in their business. However, delegation is not giving up control, but instead, giving someone else both responsibility and accountability for a specific result. It will in fact save the business owner a lot of time and frustration, if delegated to the right person, with correct directions and parameters.
The mistake that most business owners or managers make is micromanaging the employee by continuously looking over their shoulder because they are afraid to let go control.
Delegating is giving another responsible person direction, operating instructions and the power to make decisions regarding accomplishing a specific task. If delegation is done correctly, then the manager or business owner should not feel as if they are letting go of control but rather sharing the control.
Tasks or projects can be delegated to staff members or others outside the business who are experts in their area. This is called outsourcing and an example of this could be delegating your invoicing and organising your accounts to a professional bookkeeper.
One common error, business owners make in regard to delegation, is taking the task off the person and doing it themselves again. This could be because the employee could be taking too long initially to complete the tasks or small errors are happening. Instead of taking this task back again, revise the instructions, ask why the errors are happening and then give them another chance to complete the tasks efficiently and in a satisfactory timeframe. If then, the tasks are not being done in a satisfactory manner, then it may be time to delegate to another, but not for the business owner to start doing the tasks again.
So, to be able to delegate effectively in your business, there are specific steps to take. It is essential to give:
- Clear Directions/Instructions- record either on paper, video or audio exactly what you want the person to do. Imagine how difficult and frustrating it would be if you were given a task to do without the specific directions. Often when people are delegating tasks, they forget to mention all the finer details that can make a task easier to complete a task successfully.
If you are delegating to a staff member and it is the first time this task is being done by someone other than the owner or manager, and no details (or processes) have been recorded, these instructions could be verbal. A good practice is to then ask the staff member to record what the specific steps are so that this becomes one part in your operations manual. Too often people just want to get the job done and never get to write the processes down, so getting a staff member to record this is ideal.
- Expectation of time for the task- Give instructions of how much time you expect the person to spend on this task- this will allow the staff member to make a judgement as to how much detail needs to go into this task. If the manager or owner has already been performing this task, he or she will have a good idea of how much time this should take. Of course, they must allow more time for someone who is doing this for the first time. This expectation could be shared with the staff member to ease any tension of not being able to complete the task in the expected time.
- How much you expect to pay- this is in the situation where you are delegating or outsourcing tasks to people outside your organisation. If this is not discussed when you first engage the person, this could cause confusion, frustration, and possibly a breakdown in the relationship.
- Set up a Reporting System to manage the tasks-Once the expectations have been shared and discussed, there needs to be a good reporting system put in place for the manager or owner to track the progress of the project. This is an easy way to measure accountability for staff members and people who have had tasks outsourced.
If you learn to let go, and to delegate responsibilities, with a good reporting system, your business will begin to grow exponentially. And remember, once you have all this in place, do not give into the urge to take up the tasks yourself again, because the tasks in not being done exactly as you wish to begin with or taking too long to complete.