As a small business owner, you’re probably driven and ambitious and used to doing everything yourself. You’re the head of sales and marketing, the customer service rep, administrator and much more. But if you’re spending your days doing the small stuff, how is your business ever going to grow?
Trying to take care of every detail yourself can be exhausting and detrimental to your health, and you’ll soon find yourself feeling burnt out and wondering why you ever bothered setting up a business in the first place.
So what is the answer?
You have to learn to let go by delegating effectively. Delegating the right things to the right people can make your employees more capable and engaged, and it freesyou up to focus on the important things that will make your business grow.
What gets in the way of effective delegation?
Delegating the wrong things
If you only delegate tasks you find boring or onerous, employees will realise and it will affect their opinion of you. They’ll also be less motivated.
You’re setting impossibly high standards
If you believe that no one on earth could possibly do a task as well as you, how is an employee who is given this task supposed to feel? Don’t set someone up for failure by setting standards too high.
A lack of commitment
If you rule by fear, employees will do what you say, because you’re the boss after all. But what you’ll get then is a team of unmotivated employees who only do the bare minimum that is required. If employees are engaged and committed to you and the business, however, they’ll actually want to do a good job. Build good relationships with your employees, give them a reason to trust and respect you and see thedifference for yourself.
The art of delegation
Follow these steps to delegate effectively, inspire and motivate your team, and help your business grow.
Learn to let go
Decide what you need to delegate
Let go of the ‘if you want something doing, do it yourself’ mentality. If you find this virtually impossible, start small by delegating a task that’s not hugely important. Once you see that the task is completed successfully and the world doesn’t stopturning without you being involved, you’ll feel more confident when delegatingother tasks.
Think about the endless tasks you do from day to day or week to week that keep you busy but also keep you from being effective and growing your business. Think about the things that often don’t need particular expertise like admin tasks and delegate them to an employee or outsource them if you can afford it. If there are tasks that require specialist knowledge and skills that you don’t technically need to do yourself, like bookkeeping or taxes, it’s better to hire a professional whowill keep things on track for you.
Decide who you’re going to delegate to
Choose an employee who is the best fit for the task in terms of skills, competence, and attitude. Think about who you can trust to get a job done. Explain to them why the task needs doing, why you have chosen them, and how they feel about doing it.
Give clear instructions
Be clear on when the task needs to be done by and the outcome you expect. Remember that the kind of instructions you need to give will depend on how capable and experienced youremployee is.
Check that your instructions have been understood
Part of the reason that small business owners are afraid to delegate is that they fear that employees will make mistakes and they’ll just end up doing tasks themselves anyway. Reduce the risk of misunderstanding and errors by asking your employees if they have anyquestions or need anything clarifying.
Allow your employees to make decisions and contribute ideas
Delegating tasks is an opportunity for your employees to increase their skills and allowing them to make decisions and contribute ideas on how tasks can be improved empowers and motivates them. Be sure to delegate, not dump. Dumping boring or arduous tasks on employees will have the opposite effect on their motivation.
Remember that delegation is an investment
You may think that taking the time to explain tasks to employees then supervise them is time wasted when you could just do something yourself, but you need to take a long-term view. The more time you spend giving instructions and feedback to employees now, the better it will be for your business, and for you, in the long run.
Delegation may not come naturally to you, but if you want your business and employees to grow, and you want the freedom that can come with working for yourself, it’s an art worth mastering.
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