Are you exhausted from managing every detail of your business? A main factor stifling company growth could be your inability to hand off specific tasks to subordinates or software. Delegation can simultaneously be the hardest thing to learn and the most positive change you can make!
Task delegation 101
Delegation just doesn’t come naturally to a lot of business owners. The drive for perfection and the hands-on methods that are great for launching a new business can turn into a significant obstacle when it comes to scaling up. How do you learn how to delegate tasks, decide which tasks to delegate, and who to delegate them to?
Change your mindset
The first step is to change your mindset. You might be the person who knows how to do every task the most effectively or efficiently, but that doesn’t mean that taking it on is the most productive choice. Remind yourself that task delegation is a smart move, not a weak one.
Take real action
Many business owners think they can delegate, but actually end up spending just as much time micromanaging the employees they assign tasks to than if they just did the tasks themselves. You’ll have to unclench your fingers from around a few reins and actually give them to other people if you want to make a real difference in how you allocate your time and skills.
Try this trick to figure out which tasks could potentially be moved off your plate (with priority given to tasks you don’t particularly have a passion for, but that an employee might excel at):
- Make a list of everything you do. An easy way to start building this is by looking at a couple of weeks on your calendar and digging through your sent mail folder. Do that and you’ll easily discover the types of tasks that demand your attention.
- Order the tasks according to their impact on the company’s growth, and also by how much you like doing them. Building a to-don’t list is an easy way to start delegating what you don’t want to do.
- Identify tasks you can, could, or should delegate to improve your own efficiency.
- Identify who on your team or within your organization has bandwidth for more responsibility or the skills to tackle some of these items. Then match projects with employee skills and availability.
- Document everything you know about how to most effectively or efficiently complete that task. What is the best way to do it? How will you expect to see it done? Be sure to make instructions clear and comprehensive, and to communicate standards so that those you delegate to have the chance at meeting your expectations and you keep seeing work done as you would want it done.
- Now delegate the lowest ranked tasks, projects, processes, etc. to the identified employees and step back.
Once you’ve delegated tasks, try to avoid micromanaging. To grow you must let go, so watch as your team dives into their new responsibilities with clearly documented directives for getting things done. You can build strong, self-driven, independent and accountable employees only if you give them room to work.
Delegating employee training
Employee training can take significant amounts of time, and can be a drain on an owner’s energy. Unless mentorship is your passion (and even if it is), you simply can’t spend every spare minute training.
Although one-on-one training is the traditional format, employees can learn just as well through osmosis.
Osmosis is the process of gradual or unconscious assimilation of ideas, knowledge, etc.
Match new hires with established employees and watch the learning process accelerate. This is an excellent practice for cross-training as well – you can have existing employees rotate through other departments, spending a day or more in each learning the ropes.
By fostering a willingness to learn and take on new tasks and responsibilities, even temporarily, you set up your employees to be open to task delegation. This makes it easy to find support for overworked department heads, team leaders and project managers, and for yourself.
When you train an employee to do a new task, then assign them to the task permanently, make sure to acknowledge their effort as well as the importance of what they are doing. This will encourage them to take ownership of their new responsibilities, and see the shift as a positive one.
Recruitment with the intent to delegation
Hire with an eye on future task delegation. Right now, you might not need a social media expert to handle your brand’s online presence, but eventually your company may need daily support across multiple platforms.
When hiring, look through candidate resumes for soft skills that could be needed down the road, so you can delegate tasks of the future when their time arrives.
By taking this talent optimization approach to hiring, you can recruit people who won’t just serve you well right now in the role that needs filling, but who will be uniquely qualified to provide additional support down the line as you ask more from them.
Delegating onboarding processes
When it comes to onboarding, your HR department typically bears most of the burden, but in times of rapid company growth this can cause a bottleneck and clog up the entire process.
Streamlining the onboarding process by delegating repetitive tasks to a software solution can take the pressure off your HR department and hasten your new hire’s progress toward 100% productivity in their new role.
The right software can help automate many processes such as:
- Providing easy access to documented policies, procedures, training materials, and company FAQs
- Explaining company workflows and introducing preferred tools, methodologies, and vendors
- Enabling rapid payroll setup, benefit allocation, scheduling, and other HR related processes
When you aren’t wearing every hat in the organization yourself, you can build an army of qualified, competent hat-wearers to share the load. By learning how to delegate tasks effectively, you can take your company to the next level of growth.