The definition of “delegate” is to commit or entrust to another. To commit or entrust to another? Haven’t we always learned to be careful who to trust? To be independent? I can even recall my mother saying, “If you want something done to your satisfaction, do it yourself.”
Delegating can feel unnatural. I’ll be the first to admit to having trouble delegating. I’ve used the excuses, “it takes longer to explain what needs to be done then to just do it myself”, and, “if I do it myself, I know it will get done quickly and efficiently”. I’ve learned in both my professional and personal life, however, that I can’t do everything myself. Delegating is an essential task that we must accomplish when managing a business. No manager can run a business effectively without help. In the August 2013 article from Inc., 5 Steps to Delegating Wisely, bestselling author Peter Economy shares 5 ways to delegate effectively:
1. Be Clear and Concise
Be very clear about both the assignment and the expected outcome — but avoid the temptation to tell your people exactly how to do their assigned tasks. Instead, describe the goal and then let them find the best approach. By allowing your team to work in the way they believe most effective, you will increase their creativity and initiative while boosting their self-esteem.
2. Grant the Necessary Authority
Anytime you delegate a task, you also need to delegate the authority — the organizational power and resources — required to get the job done. Without this, your employees will have a much harder time doing what you’ve asked. They may even become frustrated and resentful that you’ve given them assignments that they cannot reasonably complete.
3. Get Buy-In
Be sure to get your employees’ acknowledgement that they understand assignments and agree to take on the responsibility for completion. If they have any questions or concerns, it’s important to find out at the outset, rather than once projects are well underway.
4. Monitor Progress
Monitoring your team’s work does two things: it motivates them and it helps you catch problems early. It’s important to know the degree of monitoring necessary for each task and each employee. An inexperienced employee, for example, will need tight control, while loose controls are appropriate for those who already know the ropes.
5. Correct When Necessary
If progress veers too far from the discussed guidelines, it’s time for you to take immediate and decisive corrective action. Do this first through verbal discussion, in-person whenever possible. Agree on a plan to return to targeted goals and explain the consequences for not getting back on track. But if the situation doesn’t quickly improve, you may need to take the task back and delegate it to someone else.
Delegating is a crucial component to managing successfully. By giving your employees responsibilities, it will not only free up your time to manage your business efficiently, but you will also gain respect from your employees. Sounds like a great recipe to a successful business!
Jodi Sabol | Marketing Consultant | Red Book Connect