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Delegation: you can’t do it all yourself!

Author: Max Crosby-Browne, TAB Derby & East Midlands

Even in a relatively small business, things can soon get too big for one person to manage; that’s when effective delegation as a leader can make things run smoothly and efficiently – and take the pressure off a little.

It can be really hard to let go of your business, especially if you have grown it from nothing, but remember that’s what you now employ people to help with, and it will free up your time to focus on the strategy and the important stuff.

Here are a few tips for both owners and managers to consider when tasks or functions need to be delegated.

Get everyone on the same page about delegating

The best managers will always bring their staff together at the outset to explain what is going to be done and why; and most importantly, who will be responsible for a particular task. Explain what their goals or targets will be; explain timescales, etc. If everyone starts “on the same page”, the process should go more smoothly; whether up scaling an existing project or starting a new process.

It sounds simple, but people are motivated to succeed when they know what they are doing and why! The right people will also welcome the responsibility.

Match the right people to the task

As a manager you will need to match jobs to talents and remember that not all employees thrive in a delegation situation; always begin with employees who have demonstrated the ability to think on their feet and who are prepared to take the responsibility for the decisions they make. These will be your future foremen and supervisors. If you end up with an endless stream of people coming to you for help, that’s a sure sign that the delegation process is not working and you will need to re-think.

Learn to let go

Trust those you delegate to; be prepared to give up some control. In order for delegation to work well, you must empower your employees to make their own decisions. Don’t make “delegation” just another word for doing things the same old way and be receptive to change yourself – others don’t have to do things exactly as you do to do them well and get the same result. As well as trusting them, obtain their commitment. In return for receiving greater authority, your employees must understand that they will now be held more accountable for their decisions. To get this point across, spell out the rewards for those employees who succeed and the repercussions for those who fail.

Constructive feedback!

At the start it’s important to keep a close watch on how well your staff is handling the delegation process.  This can be a tricky area; if you monitor too much, you are back to square one, too little and you can lose track of what your staff is doing.  Don’t forget to review the work regularly. Once a task or process is completed, evaluate the employee’s work.  Has everything been done to your satisfaction and on time? If not, explain where the person went wrong and what you expect the next time.  Try to offer specific and constructive criticism so the person can learn from the experience.

The result?

Successful delegation as a leader will ultimately result in a smoothly and efficiently running business which will free up your time to enable you to grow the business further or pursue the next stage in your career plan.

So what’s stopping you?


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