Here at the-Coaching Blog-run by Gerard O’Donovan, our aim is to constantly bring value to those seeking to improve their lives. Therefore we have a policy of publishing articles and materials by guest authors whom we value and appreciate. Today’s guest author is Anne M. Bachrach (USA).
When starting off a small business, there are many decisions and actions which have to be taken by the entrepreneur him/herself. It makes sense for the entrepreneur to keep the reins in his/her own hand as the business is yet to get off the ground. Getting any business started off and geared towards success takes a lot of effort and hard work. Once the business has been established, the entrepreneur can take a backseat and reap the fruits of their initial endeavors.
More often than not, this does not happen. What the entrepreneur does is retaining control of the business. When in the beginning it made sense to do so, there comes a time when relinquishing some of that power is the key to ensure the business keeps growing. Regardless of how hard you work, there are only 24 hours in a day. There is a limit to what an entrepreneur as an individual can achieve and still have a ‘life.’ Keeping an eye on the most trivial matters related to the business is not exactly the best way to utilise limited and valuable time.
Why Entrepreneurs Refrain from Delegation
A pertinent question is why entrepreneurs are apprehensive about delegating power. In a majority of the cases, they don’t think twice before delegating responsibility yet authority is something they refrain from sharing with anyone. The only plausible reason behind this is that they believe they can do anything and everything. Granted the fact that they have set up the business from scratch and are now earning good money, it doesn’t mean they don’t need any support or assistance whatsoever.
There is a superhuman feeling which comes with achievement. It is natural to believe you can conquer anything when you have been successful in all your conquests. Most entrepreneurs learn it the hard way by experiencing failure for the first time. That isn’t the way you should understand the power of delegation. While learning from your mistakes definitely helps when running a business, not making those mistakes is even better.
The What, When, How, and Who of Delegation
There is a right way to delegate and a wrong way. When done right, delegation would contribute greatly to the growth and success of your business. Get it wrong and you will come to regret it in the near future. As with all business decisions, you need to weigh the pros and cons of delegating authority or responsibility to any of your employees or associates. You need to have a clear answer to the four perennial questions: what, when, how, and who.
What to Delegate
You need to decide effectively which tasks are ideal for delegating. Starting off with the easier tasks, you can train an employee to take more responsibility and handle greater authority in the future.
- Is the task going to have long-term implications on your business? As an entrepreneur, you should devote your attention to tasks and decisions which affect the future growth of your business. You can delegate the tasks which have short-term effects.
- Most importantly, is the task of a recurring nature? If the task is of a kind which needs to be completed regularly/frequently, it would be wise to delegate it. Part of the delegation is that there is a process created so once you have trained someone, there is a process in place that anyone can follow should this person be on vacation, out ill, or get terminated. You don’t want to waste your valuable time training and then re-training the same thing. It is not time efficient. All successful entrepreneurs have procedures manuals for every job in their firm.
When to Delegate
Here are some pointers which would help you decide what you should delegate. Just because delegation can help you grow your business does not mean you should go about delegating anything and everything. You need to be selective and here are a few tips which can help you make the decision:
- Is there any person on your team capable and qualified enough to take on the task? If yes, then go ahead.
- Would performing the said task lead to personal growth and development of the person’s skills? There is little benefit of delegation if the person doesn’t learn from it.
- Will you be able to supervise the task effectively, providing guidance and support? The employee you delegate the task to might have a few questions to ask or you might need to train him/her.
How to Delegate
Delegation needs to be done properly to be successful.
- Lay out the task before the person you are delegating it to. Also clearly state what your expectations are and desired outcome of the task.
- Define boundaries of authority which the employee should not cross. Going beyond a certain level should require your approval.
- Crucially, always match responsibility with authority. Otherwise, the employee will not be able to deliver the results you are looking for.
- Discuss the task/project at length and the impact it could have on the business’ success. Also provide a realistic timeline, budget, and deadline. Make it clear how flexible the deadline is or isn’t to ensure there aren’t any issues. Provide the resources they would require.
- Stay in control by closely supervising the work done by the delegated individuals, offering your advice and guidance. Keep them on track to complete the task on time by emphasising the deadlines.
Unless done properly, delegation can be a problem rather than a solution to your problems.
Whom to Delegate To
Perhaps the most important question is whom should you delegate the task to. The factors you need to consider when making the decision are:
- Experience working in this field and with your company/business
- Capability and ability to perform the desired task
- Level of independence with which that person/s works
- Amount of work being done by the said person. You should not overload an employee who is already working hard
- Impact of the delegation on the chosen employee and other employees in the department/office
Choosing the right person to delegate authority to take a huge burden off your shoulders and frees you up to do the things that only you can do and can’t be delegated to someone else.
There is little doubt as to the efficacy of delegation towards contributing to the success of your business. You can devote your energies to the areas of the business which require your attention rather than trying to run a one-person show. At the same time, you should not forget the importance of doing it right to achieve greater success.
Anne M. Bachrach is known as The Accountability Coach™. She has 23 years of experience training and coaching. Business owners and entrepreneurs who utilise Anne’s proven systems and processes work less, make more money, and have a more balanced and successful life. Anne is the author of the books, Excuses Don’t Count; Results Rule!, and Live Life with No Regrets; How the Choices We Make Impact Our Lives, and The Work Life Balance Emergency Kit.