Delegating Your Tasks effectively
If you’re just starting out with your business, it’s expected that you’re going to have to take on a number of diverse responsibilities. Some of these responsibilities might be entirely new to you. You might think: “this might be a good learning experience for me”, and you’re not wrong.
However, as your business grows, so does the time, effort, and resources needed for you to work on each of these responsibilities. You’d soon begin to feel the strain of having too many fingers in too many cups if you choose not to delegate your responsibilities and tasks.
Let’s start with the basics: what does delegation mean? Simply put, delegation means using your authority to assign certain responsibilities to your direct reports or co-workers. As the owner of a business or the manager of a team, it means doing less hands-on tasks and instead focusing more on high-level strategic planning.
When should you start considering delegating tasks?
- When your business is growing exponentially
- When you start to feel overwhelmed by tasks and responsibilities that you’re not an expert on, and
- When you’ve got room to grow your team
At its core, delegating tasks and responsibility sounds pretty simple, but handing over your trust to other people, now that is what’s holding most of us back from delegating effectively–and ultimately impeding our business’ growth. In fact, not delegating your tasks is counterproductive to what you hope to achieve by taking care of everything. It causes unnecessary stress called Decision Fatigue, at which point you’ll stop being productive entirely. Here’s what you can do to start delegating the right way.
Trust and acceptance
The first thing that you need to do is to understand that you’re not a Superman. You might envision yourself as a high-performance machine ready to take care of your business by your lonesome, but executing that imagination takes a whole lot more than energy. You might not have the right skill set, or simply the time to commit to it.
In fact, not being able to let go can lead to micromanagement–and we all know how it can affect your employees’ performance and productivity. Not putting enough trust in your team members could adversely affect their performance. A recent American workplace study found that increased surveillance and “backseat managing” decreases the level of confidence in employees, which, in turn, is directly linked to a high rate of employee turnover.
Identify and analyze your needs
Delegating your responsibilities doesn’t mean handing out each and every one of them to your team. Identify which tasks are taking the most of your time, and granular enough for your team members to take over.
The three kinds of task you should consider delegating are the tasks that are tedious and doesn’t impact much growth, drain you of your passion, and most importantly, the ones that you’re not an expert of.
If you’re a marketing manager, for example, you wouldn’t be writing each piece of the ad copies yourself or designing posters and promotional videos. Instead, you can hand those over to your capable copywriters, graphic designers, and video production team.
The same goes for tedious administrative tasks that you should immediately delegate to back-office teams if you’re a business owner, and anything related to legal, if you’re not running a law firm. Sujan Patel wrote a good rule of thumb for business owners: “If you think you might need a lawyer for something, you probably do.”
Think up a comprehensive delegation process
Delegating responsibilities to your team member doesn’t only mean creating a new title and letting them roll with it. There is a set of things to prepare for the handing of the responsibilities.
You must first make sure that you’re handing it over to the right person. Identify their expertise, and find out if they can take over the duty you’re delegating. Haphazardly delegating responsibilities could outright kill the productivity level in your team. Make sure to differentiate between delegating a task and training a person for the job, as well. Define a set of responsibility levels when you’re just starting out with hiring new team members.
You must then know exactly what you want that person to do, which means you have to provide a set of specific instructions for them to follow. Vague instructions can only spell failure in the future. Set expectations and assign reasonable deadlines. Create a robust frame that surrounds every aspect of the responsibilities that you’re delegating.
Consider the three elements of delegation:
- Responsibility, upon which the assignee has the obligation to perform in the optimum scope of the duty.
- Authority, where the rights of the manager to direct and assign duties to its employees lie. This also covers the process of assessing the expertise of the employee, and if they are fit to be assigned the tasks and responsibilities.
- Accountability, of which said employees and teams must be accountable for the tasks. However, managers are also accountable for the direction they provide.
Create feedback loops
Finally, don’t forget to give and ask for feedback. Let your employees know when they’ve done well, and offer constructive feedback if you think there are parts of his results and process that could be improved.
Provide an opportunity for your employees to give you feedback as well. Let them share their thoughts about your leadership and assignments. Let them evaluate your ability to provide a clear and concise brief, or if you’ve assigned the right task to the right people. Insights like these can help you delegate better in the future.
You can’t run a business by yourself. At some point, even owners feel that they can do much better than their employees. However, it is impossible for anyone to run a business by themselves. Delegation is the first step for business owners in seeing their business grow. It’s not easy, and far from simple, but delegation is a smart way for you to start thinking about the bigger picture, and spend your time more efficiently and effectively.