I learnt first hand how to achieve success using the art of effective delegation way back in primary school.
Remember division of labor? That’s the most basic explanation of the concept of delegation. I’ll never forget the day my grade 2 teacher made a change in our class duty roster. She assigned some people to push the desks to the walls while the others swept the room.
We did a very good clean up job and in record time too.
As beautiful as the art of delegation is, it is often abused by two kinds of leaders.
The first group is for leaders who feel they have earned the right to NOT work. The second group however is where a lot of entrepreneurs fall in. This group of leaders believes no one can do the job as much as they can. They believe they are the only ones who can do the job and do it well. The only time they trust other people to execute tasks is if they ever break down due to their insane work schedule.
But in between those extremes are a group of leaders who know how to delegate effectively. This group belongs to business leaders who have come to appreciate the role that effective delegation plays in achieving success. That is the group you need to belong to if you want your startup to succeed.
It doesn’t matter if you are the owner or just a manager; you can achieve more success if you learn the art of delegation.
I have compiled a list below to help every business leader leverage the art of delegation to achieve business success. If you find it helpful, share it on your Facebook, twitter and other social media platforms.
- Know The Strengths and Weak Points of Your Staff
No business owner should ever forget that employees are the reason for the success or failure of a business. Simply put, they are the business.
It is of primal importance that you get to know the people under your employ. And by this I do not mean having extensive knowledge of the records in their employee file. You should make effort to know them as personally as you can without jeopardizing the integrity of your startup or your identity as the business owner.
‘Non-delegation’ is better than wrong delegation. If you delegate wrongly, the task will not be accomplished on time. And when it finally gets done, it will be a very poor one. Worse still, you will spend a lot of time correcting, supervising and monitoring just because the person you assigned to the job is not well suited for it.
If however you made out time to study and know your staff, it will be a lot easier for you to evaluate each person. You would have known their strong points, weak points, likes, dislikes, hopes and dreams. With this knowledge you can entrust responsibilities to them that best suits their qualities.
This way they will find it easy to trust in your ability to make good business decisions that will benefit everyone and grow the business.
- Do not demand perfection
Mostly because you will NEVER, EVER get it.
No human on earth is perfect (Okay, except maybe Michael Angelo). We are bound to make mistakes at some points in our lives. This is the most universal human trait and your employees are not excluded from this.
What you should do is to ensure that you define a standard of quality that they should aim to attain while carrying out the task given to them.
The objective is to get the job done in due time and according to prescribed standards. And of course, the overall objective is to bring your startup closer to achieving its goal. The end result must not be a work of art; it just has to be sufficient.
- Provide adequate information and resources concerning the task, nothing else
When laying out the job description there should be no ambiguity or oversights. Leave them with a clear understanding of what you want them to do. Your employees swallow every word you say at this point. So one mistake and/or omission and you could be pointing them in the wrong direction.
You should subsequently make available to them all the resources they will need to achieve the task that you have entrusted to them.
After you have done this, get out of their way and let them work. You cannot control all the business processes implemented within your organization.
Your employees have brains too, so give them a chance to get their creative juices flowing. More often than not they will turn up with something amazing.
- Check in on their progress from time to time
Checking in implies that you weren’t there the whole time, looking over their shoulder. This is exactly what you should NEVER do. If you never take your eyes off your employees, you give them the impression that you do not trust their ability to achieve the task.
Guess what? This is the easiest way to make sure that they never perform those tasks well.
To avoid being ever present while they work, discuss with them before they start on the project. The aim of this discussion is to set up points where you will be expected to come in and check on their progress.
This will give them added motivation to work as they will want to always have something to show to you whenever you check in.
- Appreciate them in words…and deeds
While it is good to praise your staff for a job well done, remember that words alone are not enough.
Set up a system to reward remarkable performance for your staff. Also let them know about such a system before they begin to tackle the jobs assigned to them. This will serve as an incentive and will increase their desire to complete the job.
- Step in if and only if the need arises
You can step in to arrest the situation if the execution of the delegated task is not going according to plan. Have a sit down with the employee and state your concerns, then re-strategize.
If results still do not go the way of progress then you can take over the task yourself or assign it to someone more experienced.
Delegation is an art. It is a very vital management tool that every business leader should have to build a successful business. Over-delegation is often a sign of a lazy business owner, who has mistaken his employees for slaves and himself for a slave master. Such a business is bound to crash sooner or later.
On the flip side, under-delegation is just as dangerous to the life span of any business too.
This is not the time for the business owner to subscribe to the mantra that says “learn from the ant”. You are not an ant. Don’t try to carry more work than is necessary. Delegate the tasks to the appropriate staff and watch your business bloom.