Entrepreneurs have great talents but many times they think they can do it all. That can really stall the growth of the business.
One of the best things about being an entrepreneur is that every day is different – but for a lot of entrepreneurs, that also means you end up doing a bit of everything. However, doing everything for your business can also mean you spend too much time on the day-to-day tasks and not enough time focusing on growing your business. That’s where effective delegation comes in.
In order to truly scale your business, you can’t try to do it all on your own. By outsourcing or hiring staff to take care of time-consuming tasks, you can focus on the most important, high-level priorities for your business. But giving up some tasks and control can be a challenge for entrepreneurs who are reluctant to let go of any part of the business they’ve built.
In fact, a Gallup study entitled Delegating: A Huge Management Challenge for Entrepreneurs found that CEOs with “high delegator talent” had a 3-year average growth rate of 1,751%, which is 112% higher than CEOs with “low delegator talent.”
One founder with that type of high delegator talent is Virgin Founder Richard Branson. He says his secret to success is people, because “they had skills that I did not. In some areas they knew better than I did how to make my vision a reality.”
Effective delegation – not micromanaging – allows you to focus on the most important parts of your business while empowering your team to take charge of projects you assign them.
Why delegation is important for entrepreneurs
Successful delegation involves building the right processes (including setting expectations, following up, and giving feedback), as well as providing the resources and authority to act to your team. It also involves giving the right task to the right person for the right reason.
Some benefits of effective delegation include:
- Freeing up your time to focus on the most important aspects of the business
- Growing employees’ skills and expertise
- Empowering employees to handle tasks they are best at (or are better at than you)
- Increasing efficiency so that you can take on and complete more projects
However, many successful entrepreneurs still struggle with delegation in management. Many employees and freelancers struggle to succeed due to a lack of direction, tools, or communication. In order to make sure delegating tasks actually helps your business instead of hurting your business, you need to prioritize learning how to delegate effectively.
Tips to ensure successful delegation
Make delegation part of your management process.
When you draft your employees’ development plans, incorporate new responsibilities to prepare them for future roles and opportunities. Consider how they can acquire the skills they need to continue to grow.
Shift responsibilities to someone at the right level.
Your delegate needs to have the skills and authority to complete the task. On the other hand, you should be mindful to use your team effectively and avoid assigning menial tasks to someone who is overqualified for them.
Clearly delineate the tasks.
To ensure that your delegate comprehends the responsibility, outline exactly what you do, how do you it, who else is involved and why it’s important.
Provide the right materials and training.
The best way to ensure that someone else knows how to do a task is to walk them through it. As a leader, you should arrange for your delegate to have access to everything they need to do the job before shifting the responsibility.
Don’t delegate too much or too fast.
As you shift responsibilities, be careful not to assign too many to the same person. Avoid delegating multiple important tasks at the same time so you and your employees both have an opportunity to adjust to the transition.
Step back, and give it time.
Your delegate needs some space to figure out how to handle the work in their own way. Resist the urge to micromanage, and be patient as they learn the ropes.
Follow up to ensure that the task has been completed.
After you delegate a task, you should check in with the employee and anyone else who is involved to verify that the work is getting done. Any problems will be much easier to resolve if you can identify them early.
Give timely, positive feedback.
Everyone likes to feel recognized and appreciated. If your delegate is doing a good job, let them know. Suggestions and critiques can also be framed positively to avoid making your delegate feel defensive.
Identify opportunities to learn from your experiences.
Once you have begun to delegate routinely, evaluate the results. You may want to conduct an informal SWOT analysis to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing your team. What tasks are going well? What should you do differently in the future? How will you leverage growth opportunities and cope with upcoming challenges?
While it takes time and effort, delegating effectively will empower you to be more productive and grow your business. Your staff will gain new opportunities to develop their skills while contributing to the success of the company. Together, you can all achieve more, so ask yourself: “What can I start delegating to my team?”