5 Steps to Effective Delegation

delegateAs your business grows, you may find that in order to continue to move forward, you need to start handing over some of your daily to-dos to someone who can get the work done and free up your time for other business activities.

But although it may be necessary, delegation can be a very difficult step for many business owners. Some of the hurdles we may have to jump in order to delegate effectively include:

  • Feeling like we need to do everything ourselves to have it done right.
  • Not having the time or desire to transfer the knowledge necessary to have someone else take over.
  • Being unable to find people we trust enough to delegate to.

While these are all valid and significant hurdles, you can overcome all of your reservations by taking a well-planned and logical approach to delegation.

Step 1: Know What to Delegate

In every business, there are some things that can be delegated and others that can not. For example, you should probably think twice before delegating tasks that involve sensitive or confidential client information. And you may not want to delegate a task that hasn’t been clearly defined.

Step 2: Be Picky with Who You Choose

This step is one of the most important and the most difficult. It takes a lot of time to find people you can delegate to that meet all of the necessary criteria for a successful relationship:

  • Trust and loyalty
  • Necessary skills
  • Adequate availability
  • Work ethic comparable to yours
  • Positive performance history

It may take time, but by having thorough discussions about your expectations and the other person’s ability, you can make a good decision about who you choose to bring into the fold.

Step 3: Provide Documentation and Clear Instructions

Just as it is vitally important in business continuity planning, having documentation that clearly outlines the details of the work and provides all of the necessary information is important in delegation.

But don’t leave it at that. Once you have shared all of the necessary information, take time to review the specifics and answer any questions that may arise.

Step 4: Track Work and Provide Feedback

When you’ve found your team and assigned the work, don’t simply write it off and forget about it. It makes sense to follow along with the work being completed to ensure it’s being done correctly and to your specifications.

You certainly don’t want to micromanage work that you delegate, but you should be kept in the loop so you can monitor the work and provide feedback for improvements. And your goal should be to remain available to all parties so you can address and resolve any potential questions or problems.

Step 5: Make it Ongoing

Your business responsibilities change, so your delegation needs will also change. On a regular basis, take a look at what you have coming in and who you are delegating to in order to determine if you need to outsource more work and possibly expand your team. By making this a regular evaluation process in your business, you will be able to anticipate needs and be ready to handle changes as they occur.

Do you frequently delegate? What have you done to make the process easier?

Image credit: Sanja Gjenero

Free book: Jump Start HTML5 Basics

Grab a free copy of one our latest ebooks! Packed with hints and tips on HTML5's most powerful new features.

  • Bex White

    Some great back to basics tips which anyone new to delegating tasks should take on board. The first hurdle is to let go of a task and allow your staff and colleagues to take responsibility without being micro-managed – but equally you need ultimate control over the output. Using clear documentation and getting your staff to keep you updated on progress (once a day / week as appropriate dependant on the task) you can be sure to stay on top of the work without any stress. I have found the single most useful tool available is to have a process. Create standard forms for briefing and amends / extra work with timelines and deadlines.

    Emails or face to face chats are all well and good – but having standard documentation that staff are familiar with and that clearly states tasks, deliverables and dates is invaluable. Without these there will always be room for misinterpretation or crossed wires. They also avoid the possibility of you forgetting to mention anything or your staff needing to come to you with questions you should have already answered. These documents don’t have to be complex or fancy – they just need to exist :)

    I hope that is useful.
    http://www.bubblegumkitten.com/blog
    http://www.bubblegumkitten.com