Quite simply, as a business leader, you can’t do everything yourself. And you shouldn’t even attempt to as there are so many benefits to delegating to your team.
Of course, it’s true that a business founder will often start off by doing everything themselves. But as the business grows, more tasks will take up more and more of your time.
The consequences of this are either:
1. You have less time and less focus for your clients and the actions that will grow your business, such as delivering your products/services, growing your sales pipeline, developing your business strategy etc.
2. The working day creeps into your evenings and weekends, eating up family, social, and leisure time.
By trying to do too much yourself, not only do you get to the point of feeling overwhelmed, but you can also lose the momentum your business had when it first started growing.
While none of this comes as any great surprise, it is often emotional reasons that stop a business leader from delegating work to others.
Emotional reasons that stop business leaders from delegating.
1. They think that no one else can match their standards. And so, if they feel they’ll end up doing it anyway, their thinking will be “why waste double the amount of time?”
2. They’re not good at handing control to someone else. If you’ve started a business, which includes doing everything yourself, delegating tasks to others means handing over part of something you have created. That’s scary for many people but a necessary skill to learn.
3. It’s also good for the ego to be the ‘go to’ expert. Delegating a task to someone else gives them the opportunity to prove they are the also an expert, and possibly better than you!
We all know that humans are emotional creatures, and so emotions are stronger than logic. Maybe that’s why delegating can be so difficult?
But there are also some strong logical reasons why business leaders ‘must’ learn to delegate.
Logical reasons why business leaders ‘must’ learn to delegate.
Let’s briefly look at some of these logical reasons, starting with the obvious one:
1. Delegating tasks creates more time for you to focus on the most valuable and most important activities that will lead to business growth. It also increases your energy for these tasks.
2. By developing your team, you are giving them the chance to learn new skills, gain valuable experience and become more motivated and confident colleagues. This will increase productivity in your business, making it stronger and more effective.
3. It shows that you trust and respect your team, which increases their commitment to your business.
4. This one perhaps edges us back towards the emotional level, but instead of being seen as a weak leader, you’ll be recognised as a strong and respected leader.
5. It helps develop creativity in your business. Another person doing a job that until now you have always done, will probably do it differently, and sometimes in a more efficient way that you would never have thought of.
6. Giving your team opportunities to learn new skills reduces the expense of staff turnover. People want to be given new opportunities and increase their experience. If they don’t see a way of doing that in your business, they will look elsewhere.
7. Your business becomes more flexible and efficient, creating a strong basis for exponential growth.
And if these logical reasons weren’t enough..
Gallup carried out a survey in 2014 amongst CEOs of Inc. 500 companies and found that… “those with high Delegator talent posted an average three-year growth rate 112 percentage points greater than those CEOs with limited or low Delegator talent.”
On that note, let’s move onto the art of delegating. I say ‘art of delegating’ because we’re dealing with other human beings here, and so there can be no scientific ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach.
But there are some key points to always consider when delegating, that should be adapted for each individual case. So here we go…
5 Tips to Effective Delegation:
1. What is the end result you want?
Don’t leave anything open to interpretation.
You may have explained what the task is but if it’s a task where you have a specific outcome or target in mind, let the person you’re delegating to know what that outcome or target is.
As a simple example, if you want someone to make sales calls but you don’t specify you want them to make 20 sales calls, don’t be disappointed if they only make 10. They’re not mind readers!
Be very clear about the end result you want with well-defined goals and objectives.
2. Focus on the result, not how it’s achieved.
Most people have their own way of doing things and if that means they go about the task in a different way to you, accept it. Providing they are working towards achieving the result you want, don’t get in their way.
3. Trust them and let go!
The worst thing you can do is micromanage someone you have delegated a task to, otherwise you run the risk of undermining them. You’ve made the decision that they’re the best person for the job, so trust your judgement and trust them to do an excellent job.
4. Don't expect perfection.
This is what often stops business owners or managers from delegating in the first place. Always remember the reason you are delegating; it is to free up more of your time to focus on the more important actions.
As long as you have chosen the best person for the job, and provided the guidance, tools, resources and training necessary to complete the job, they should do a great job for you.
5. Don’t stop with the communication.
You can never communicate too much!
Without micromanaging, talk to them regularly about how they are progressing. Be there for them to answer any questions and assure them they are not having to work things out alone.
If there is little or no communication from you, they can feel alone, feel that you’re not really interested, or feel that you think they’re doing a poor job. These feelings can stop them from asking questions, for help, or they’ll simply be less motivated to do the best job they can.
As I’ve already said, successful delegation is more of an art, than an exact science. If delegating something for the first time seems a little daunting… don’t worry, that’s natural.
You may even have these kinds of questions in your head… “Can I trust them?” “Will they do a good job?” or “What if they let down a client?”
I had doubts like these when I delegated a big task for the first time. The outcome though was it took a great weight off my mind and allowed me to be more productive with my time.
A successful leader knows how to delegate and when you see the benefits of delegating, you’ll become
more confident and wonder why you didn’t do it a long time ago!