As a small business owner, we all wear multiple hats. From admin to strategy, to marketing, to operations…we do it all! But doing it ALL ourselves is not a scalable approach. If you’ve fallen into the trap of, “If I want something done right, I have to do it myself,” you’re in a dangerous place if you expect any type of growth. Delegating to other team members or outsourcing some of the tasks on your plate will free you up to focus on the things you need to do to grow your business.
There is always a balance between ensuring quality work and micromanaging. On one end of the spectrum, there are managers that don’t provide enough information for the task to be completed properly; they assume if they assign a task, then the person executing the task should be able to figure out the details. Unfortunately, not clarifying deadlines, resources, or clearly identifying expectations can result in less than desirable outcomes. On the other end of the management spectrum, there are managers that provide too much detail, want to identify the process and want to be involved in every decision along the way. Where do you fall on this spectrum?
Here are some tips to ensure you delegate for success:
- Track your own time. Tracking your billable and nonbillable time will allow you to get a clear picture of how you spend your week…and you might be surprised! Do you need to spend more time on strategy? Do you need to have more billable time? What repeatable tasks could you delegate?
- Use technology to improve team communication. Part of completing any task is having the information and resources you need to get the job done. File sharing, online scheduling and calendars, and automated workflows will give your team access to the information they need to do their jobs done in a timely manner.
- Identify the best candidate for the job. Just because someone is capable of doing the work does not mean their availability matches up with your deadlines. Consider a team member’s expertise, availability, and attitude when delegating.
- Establish realistic timelines that include checkpoints and time for feedback. If you are assigning tasks with looming deadlines, you’re setting your team up for failure. Your project timelines should include checkpoints, time for feedback and have enough wiggle-room for correcting mistakes. As soon as a task is assigned, identify important deadlines for the project and discuss the consequences to other projects and/or to the clients if deadlines are missed.
- Avoid reverse delegation or upward delegation. If your team members get stuck, don’t allow them to delegate tasks back up the chain. Be available for suggestions and feedback but don’t jump in and take over or provide the answer. If you want your team to grow, show them where to find their own answers so that they can learn and become more independent.
Delegating can be the difference between a burnt out business owner and one who has time for strategy and creativity. By definition, delegating is entrusting (a task or responsibility) to another person where the person who delegated is still responsible for the outcome. When you delegate a task to someone, provide them with a comprehensive picture of expectations, deadlines and ways that this impacts the other projects and relationships so that you get the desired results.
About the Author:
Jessica Solis, the owner of Solis Marketing Services, is a marketing guru with over 10 years’ experience helping small businesses tell their story through various digital marketing platforms. Jessica has worked in a variety of industries, helping small businesses create and execute marketing plans and initiatives. When Jessica is not making magic behind her computer, she can be found on an adventure with her three energetic boys, traveling, or volunteering in her community. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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