As a small business owner, you have a lot of responsibilities under your belt. But as your business continuously grows, you’ll notice that your workload keeps piling up by the minute. While doing everything you can handle yourself seems like a smart move to save on cost and to ensure high quality of work, carrying a heavy workload is not a valuable long-term business solution.
Over time, the stress and extended working hours will definitely take a toll on your overall well-being. Inability to stay focused at work, lack of professional competence, chronic physical ailments, failure to fulfill social duties, and emotional challenges are just some of the many things you’ll experience if you don’t delegate tasks efficiently.
To support the ever-growing needs of your business, without putting too much pressure on yourself, you need to practice the art of delegation. Read on to learn the essentials of delegating tasks to employees.
The challenges you might face when delegating
There are many reasons why most business owners find it hard to delegate responsibilities to employees. Some reasons might be personal, but some owners are just so controlling that they lack confidence in delegating tasks to other people. These are the managers or owners accustomed to working and making the decisions for the company, and they find it hard to let someone else get involved in the process.
Another reason is that they lack trust in their workers, thinking that they can do better than them and that doing tasks themselves is the only key to accomplishing jobs correctly. While trust is hard to give and hard to earn, there is a big difference between trusting people and questioning their abilities. Seeing delegation as a waste of time is yet another factor that prevents owners from delegating tasks to their employees. Rather than perceive it as a big time waster, just think of these benefits when you delegate tasks to your people:
- Boosts team productivity as they finish more jobs in a lesser amount of time
- Establishes a stronger bond between you and your employees
- Increases employee skills by improving their level of expertise
How to overcome these challenges
If not addressed immediately, the aforementioned challenges will only create an environment full of dependency. Later on, this will lead to employee dissatisfaction and disengagement. If you are having difficulties delegating effectively, you need to ask yourself these questions: Why did you hire employees in the first place? What made you decide not to trust them with responsibilities? Are there things you can do to remove these barriers?
Keep in mind that as the owner or manager, your job is to help grow the business by leading it in the right or desirable way. Your opinion and guidance matters, but it is not your sole responsibility to be involved in each and every task in the company. To overcome these challenges, you need to open yourself up and find solutions to rebuild trust amongst employees.
- Carefully evaluate the skills and expertise of your team members.
- Provide training if needed and invest in improving your staff’s abilities.
- Assign tasks like low-level jobs to your people, and keep more complex ones for yourself.
What should be delegated?
Delegating tasks to employees is not an easy responsibility, as it requires thorough evaluation and careful selection when assigning responsibilities to workers. Remember that not all tasks can be delegated: as the head or leader, you need to identify key opportunities that can be handed over to other people. Some projects can be passed down to your team members, while there are responsibilities that should only be tackled on your own.
To carry out successful delegation, break down your tasks according to the required skill set. It might be difficult at first, but eventually you’ll find your rhythm on how to distribute work accordingly. For example, doing your tax documents and price inventory requires someone who is comfortable with numbers, such as an accounting graduate or a bookkeeper. Packing things for delivery requires few skills but lots of experience, and your employee with 5 years of supermarket work experience can do this job effortlessly.
- Do not forget to set clear objectives for each task and responsibility.
- Find a person to delegate the task to who matches the skill set as closely as possible.
- Schedule a meeting with your employees and encourage them to raise questions.
The importance of a timeline
Every task needs to be completed on a given schedule or date. Whether you need to follow a strict deadline or the service needs to be acceptable upon completion, establishing a timeline helps people keep focused. Likewise, it makes them accountable for their own actions and mistakes. Before delegating tasks to employees, explain to them the importance of a timeline, and why they need to follow it religiously.
For employees to complete the task by the given deadline, it would be helpful to send an email to all parties involved reiterating the phase or milestone of each timeline. Through this, you can be sure that everyone has access to the same information and that no one is lost, so that everybody is aligned on the task objectives. Consider the following tips when preparing a timeline:
- Make sure that deadlines are specific, reasonable, and achievable.
- Even if you have a timeline, don’t forget to follow up on your team.
- Set reminders for each phase and review the work in progress.
Give constant feedback
The last tip on how to effectively delegate tasks to employees is the importance of giving constant feedback. Bear in mind that successful delegation is a result of various things – a good working relationship, proper people management, and commitment to excellence. As the business owner, your main goal is to make future delegation easier, and you can only do this by learning from your current experience.
To improve your delegation skills, solicit information from your people. Ask them if they are comfortable with the given task and if deadlines are reasonable. Moreover, ask them if the materials you’ve provided are useful. By having this information, it allows you to learn and be comfortable with the whole process of delegating work.
- Constructive feedback is always encouraged, let people speak and be heard.
- Ask your employees about the challenges and difficulties they’ve faced along the way.
- To achieve desired results, keep communication lines between you and your employees open.