5 Strategies to Master the Art of Delegation

It can be tempting to do everything yourself as a small business owner. After all, you know your products and services, how you want it delivered, marketed and even how you want it paid for.

So when it comes to scaling your business, it’s hard for you to let go and start to delegate tasks to your new found team. The art of letting go can be one of the hardest things to learn, especially if you thrive on the adrenaline and knowing what’s happening at all times.

Great delegation is when you still main a daily role in your company and oversee the business, but that you have strategies to ensure that the right work is being given to the right people in the right quantities.

To help you gain the true benefits of delegation, here are five strategies you need to adopt.

1. Define Who Does What

When you recruit in response to a need rather than as part of a growth strategy, it can be easy to lose definition of roles and responsibilities. Having a bare bones organizational chart, general titles and blurred job descriptions is fine for the first few years, but as you grow your business both investors and your employees will look for structure. Investors or funders will look at defined roles and responsibilities to view your business potential. Employees will look for job satisfaction and personal growth.

Take time early on to create strategy and structure. Understand where your skill set honestly lays, and where you could ask for help. Take a step back and assess how you want your business to grow, or what you hope to succeed, and think about the types of roles and people you need to get you there. Even if you do not recruit them all now, it is best to have a plan and grow strategically.

2. Identify and Communicate Metrics

Before delegating a task, take time to consider what would make it a success, and how you would measure that success. Then communicate those definitions to the team member. After they have completed the task, sit down with them to review the outcomes objectively.

3. Promote Accountability

After you have defined the roles and responsibilities, it’s time to empower your team. There is nothing more frustrating for an employee than being given a direction, but not the accountability to do it. Inspire employees by giving them the relevant training and explaining how their role helps drive the business forward. Then allow them to take responsibility for those tasks.

By promoting accountability and not micromanaging your employees you will make them happier and give yourself time to concentrate on the roles you enjoy and need to do to push the business forward.

4. Democratize the Decision Making Process

Keeping the same theme of accountability, allow your employees to make decisions. It can been scary at first, relinquishing some power, but it will save you hours of time being stuck in gridlock discussing opportunities that you do not always agree on. Instead, give each employee parameters in which they’re allowed to make their own decisions and build a more efficient and trusting relationship with them.

4. Make Strategy a Team Sport

As you onboard employees, make sure they understand your business objectives and how their role helps achieve those objectives. They will then be able to understand how even the smallest of tasks first into your overall vision for the company.

Once employees have been there for a defined period, start to involve them in the yearly strategy and planning sessions. They are now the face of the business and probably privy to a lot more day-to-day knowledge of your business. For example, if you have delegated sales duties, they are likely to have more relevant customer insight. If you have delegated marketing and promotions, they will have more industry knowledge and understanding of what campaigns have and have not worked. The more information you have about your business the better, so involve them in the planning process.

5. Learn to Let it Go

Once you start to let go of control, there will inevitably be a time when something doesn’t go the way you would like. Your gut reaction will be blame yourself for letting go, manifesting as frustration towards the employee and barging in to take over again.

Instead of taking control again, make the situation an opportunity to learn. First consider if you would have done anything differently, if put in the same situation. Then speak to the employee and ask for their take on the situation, and how they would resolve it if it happened again. You often don’t know what really went wrong until you dig in and understand all the information, so take a breath and see what you can do to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

At first sight, delegation can feel like more hassle than it’s worth. But effective delegation can instantly increase productivity.

The key to success is to choose the right tasks to delegate, identify the right people to delegate to, and delegate the right way. It’s a lot to remember, but once you do, your business growth is all of a sudden much more attainable.