The very notion of delegating tasks and responsibilities to others is something that many business owners and managers can often feel ambivalent, and even evasive about.
You might be accustomed to taking on almost all of the critical tasks and assignments at your own firm, out of fear that entrusting other people with them could mean they aren’t done quickly enough, or to a high enough standard.
To some extent, these feelings are very understandable. However, part of the art of being a good manager is knowing what, when and how to delegate. So, here are some steps to go through to improve your own delegation skills.
Learn to let go
As Jayson DeMers, founder and former CEO of Internet marketing firm AudienceBloom, has previously written for Inc., “The biggest problem most new bosses and leaders face is the inability to let go of their own work.”
DeMers added that whatever the reasoning may be for a given manager not letting go, doing so needs to be one’s “first priority”.
He advised: “Start small, delegating only the smallest tasks, and gradually work your way up. Get to know your team better and improve the trust among you and your co-workers. Take baby steps and know that eventually, you will have to let go of your work if you want your team to be successful.”
Identify the right tasks to be delegated
Being able to delegate is certainly a crucial skill for corporate leaders. Part of this skill, however, is knowing what tasks are appropriate for delegation in the first place.
Not everything on your current ‘to-do’ list should necessarily be delegated. After all, not every employee is well-suited to every single task, so you’ll need to assess the responsibilities you presently have on your plate and consider how these can be best matched to the strengths and skillsets of your team members.
Look for outside help if necessary
Sometimes, there will be tasks you need to deal with that none of your other staff will necessarily be well-suited to do. But that doesn’t automatically mean you should always take on such tasks yourself – or at least, not if there’s someone outside your workplace who could help.
Should you really be managing your firm’s accounts yourself, for instance, if hiring an accountant would make more sense?
Consider, too, the responsibility of answering all of those client phone calls. You might not have the time to catch many of them, and other staffers of yours may not have the best telephone manner. But a dedicated call handling service, such as that offered by Planet Numbers and similar firms, could turn out to fill the gap quite nicely.
The job of delegating isn’t done once you have matched tasks to employees. That’s because you’ll also need to ensure those team members know exactly what is expected of them.
Certain assignments may have to be completed in a very particular way, and the employee may need to report to someone in the company other than you.
So, by giving each employee as much detail as possible about their given task at the start of the process, you will be able to minimise the likelihood of poor or unsuitable work being turned in.
Also consider communicating the most important information in writing rather than just verbally, so that the employee has something to refer back to when they are completing the assignment.
Are there any other tips you could share yourself, from first-hand experience, on the subject of delegating effectively and boosting productivity? If so, please don’t hesitate to add them in the comments section below.