Any business owner wants to improve and optimize the work of the team, thereby saving their time to solve more complex tasks. There is no way to do it without delegation of certain tasks. Take a look at the findings from Gallup’s study of 2014. According to it, leaders with strong delegation skills made 33% higher revenue than their peers with less of this talent!
The good news is that, along with other important managerial skills, you can master the art of effective task delegation.
In this article, we’ll share useful tips for small business owners to delegate tasks effectively.
Table of Contents
Why task delegation matters
As a company is evolving and growing beyond the startup phase, the delegation of certain tasks becomes essential for a business owner. Most leaders realize that the demands on their time are growing, and they cannot handle everything on their own. To lighten their workload, they choose to outsource certain tasks (e.g. programming) to third-party providers. For marketing purposes, business owners can leverage user-generated content to delegate part of content creation to their fans.
But, this is not enough. A successful leader needs to delegate responsibility for certain tasks to other team members. Why is that?
First, by delegating responsibility, business owners can free up their time for strategic issues.
Second, as team members are taking more responsibility, they start feeling trusted and respected. This contributes to a higher commitment to work and willingness to achieve more.
Third, by allowing employees to solve business-related tasks on their own, you help them grow as professionals. Isn’t it good to surround yourself with high-class specialists?
Why do business owners avoid task delegation?
For many business owners, delegation is easier said than done, and they avoid it for various reasons. Here are the most common ones:
- The belief that “if you want to do something right, do it yourself”;
- Fear of losing control over the situation without involvement in a particular process;
- Reluctance to transfer a certain activity to others because they enjoy working on it;
- Feeling uncomfortable about adding more tasks to someone’s workload;
- Worrying that delegating and explaining the task will take longer than doing that themselves.
Whatever the reason, small business owners need to realize that they can’t do everything themselves. Moreover, they shouldn’t!
7 task delegation tips for small business owners
Here are the seven tips for small business owners to help them delegate tasks effectively.
1. Know what you can delegate
First of all, you need to determine which tasks you can delegate. To do this, you can compile a list of tasks and divide it further into two more ones:
- The tasks that only you can handle;
- The tasks that others can do for you.
Feel free to delegate everything that fell into the second list.
Jenny Blake, a career and business strategist, offers another approach to identifying the tasks to delegate. According to him, the following types of activities represent an opportunity for delegation:
- Small tasks that don’t take much time each but add up over time when taken together;
- Simple and routine tasks that do not need special skills (such as copy-pasting information);
- More complex and time-consuming tasks that other team members can still perform at 80% and then get approval from a leader;
- Tasks that you can teach other team members to perform;
- Tasks that are outside your area of expertise;
- Time-sensitive tasks that compete with other project-related issues with strict deadlines.
2. Identify the right person to delegate the task to
When choosing the right person to delegate the tasks to, be sure to check candidates on certain criteria.
An employee’s strengths and weaknesses
Consider what a person is good at, what they can cope with, and where they might need a consultation.
The current workload of a person
Check whether an employee has time to take on new tasks. By the way, tracking this is essential for well-balanced workload management.
The personal traits
When choosing the right person for a job, such traits as responsibility, independence, proactivity, and desire to grow, matter.
A growth potential
Try to distribute tasks in such a way that delegated functions will help employees improve their skills and grow.
So, to delegate tasks effectively, you need to match the responsibility level with an employee’s background. The more interested and motivated a person is, the more effectively they will perform the tasks that you delegate to them.
3. Make the goal, the context, and the desired outcome clear
Once you’ve identified the right person to delegate the tasks to, be sure to be as specific as possible about the goals. It is important to make it clear what results and in what time frame you expect, and how you will measure the success.
The task should meet the SMART criteria — that is, be specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound. Such a clear statement of the task will help a leader to transfer the responsibility for the result, not only the process of doing something.
Don’t forget to provide an employee with a context on why you’re delegating them this or that task. Explain to them how this new responsibility can help them grow as professionals.
4. Provide the necessary resources and support
To delegate tasks effectively, ensure that a responsible person has all the tools and resources they might need. If a team member needs to learn some new tools or techniques to get the job done, your task is to help them get familiar with these tools and techniques first.
As it may take some time for a person to learn how to deal with their new responsibility, be sure to provide enough guidance and support to them. The better support you provide to an employee, the faster they will become independent in solving the issues delegated to them.
5. Set up a schedule of check-ins
From the very beginning, specify the intermediate stages and the schedule of checkpoints to monitor the progress. Use these touchpoints to review the progress, check if there are any issues along the way, or make adjustments as needed.
6. Avoid micromanagement
While progress monitoring is essential to delegate tasks effectively, don’t micromanage. First, micromanagement increases your workload. Second, the control of each step an employee takes to complete the task won’t enable them to learn new skills and develop independence.
A good idea is to focus on goals rather than the certain steps a person takes to achieve these goals. Remember, your co-worker may approach a task in a completely different way than you would, and it’s ok. As long as you see the achievement of the desired end goals, there’s no need to worry.
7. Show your appreciation for good results
Finally, be sure to show your appreciation when a team member completes the delegated task or project. Be specific about the things they did well to help them understand the expected quality of work better. Recognition also contributes to building loyalty and willingness to help you with future tasks.
It may also be a good idea to invest in a webinar platform if you have a team of 3 or more for monthly calls to show your appreciation and keep employees updated on the direction of the company. This helps with team building, but also allows you to show appreciation to employees who are deserving.
While it can be difficult for leaders to delegate tasks to other team members, developing this skill pays off. To delegate tasks effectively, you need to:
- Identify what you can delegate and to whom;
- Be specific about the goals and desired results;
- Track the progress without micromanaging;
- Provide comprehensive support to a chosen person along the way.
Start following these task delegation tips today, take coffee breaks and watch the productivity and trust within your team increase!