As entrepreneurs, especially small business owners, we see the ability to delegate as a luxury. In reality, it is a skill that has to be acquired and practiced. If you started out as a one-person team, then you quickly had to learn how to do everything by yourself. You built a system that works fine for you. Thinking of handing all of this over to someone else and walking away may be scary. But while you may feel that your business will fall apart without you, the same thing could happen if you refuse to share the work.
Let’s start this read by making one point: you’re not the only person for the job. Every skill and process can be learned. I’ve seen a lot of business owners who built their brands on paying attention to the details that matter to their clients. As a result, they formed the opinion that no one else can provide the same service because it’s a personal thing. But does this approach serve any good in the long run?
Here’s what happens to leaders and entrepreneurs who don’t delegate.
What Happens When You do not Delegate
No personal time
86% of business owners work on weekends. In the early days of building your brand, this may be exciting. However, it won’t take too long until you start to feel the effects of burnout. A survey by Xero shows that 77% of small business owners show signs of burnout. In millennial business people, the number is 94%. Beyond exhaustion, you are prone to miss out on family time, home meals, and even doctors’ appointments.
At some point, business owners can no longer tell where their personal life ends and where their business starts. They simply do too much and sacrifice a whole lot more in the process.
When you choose to do everything by yourself, it becomes harder to complete projects. It doesn’t matter how many automation software tools you use. The same person cannot create and manage social media posts, write website content, answer customer inquiries, work on product development, manage accounts, and so on. If you do all of these, you lose the time which a business owner should spend on innovation.
Even when you come up with new ideas and strategies, it’s hard to follow through because there’s just so much to do. A business run this way would quickly plateau because there’s no time for growth-focused action.
Lack of trust within their team
If you don’t delegate to your team, you may unknowingly be creating a culture of mistrust. Your team is there to help you, and to help the company grow. If you refuse to share information or access, you could be telling them that there’s no trust. Don’t assume that you’re making the job easier for your team by doing everything yourself.
How to Delegate Tasks
You know the saying, “If you want something done right, do it yourself”? Let’s leave that behind. For a successful business, “If you want something done right, learn to delegate it”. How does that sound?
Here’s how to delegate effectively so you can relax.
Evaluate team members’ skills
When you have a skill-specific task, find someone who has some related experience. These skills are easy to pick up when you work closely with a group of people. You can also refer to their applications and CV to see their listed abilities. Try delegating one task to the same person over and over again. Doing this will reduce the amount of time needed to instruct them. You’ll also be building the person’s aptitude for that task. Every time they execute it, they get better.
Teach needed skills
More employees are beginning to realize the benefits of training their staff. Regardless of how experienced your team members are, they won’t know how to do everything. Instead of taking up the workload for them, teach the needed skills to get those tasks done. This could simply be asking someone to shadow you for a week to learn your process. It could also be paying a training company to teach your team. Training is relative to every company, so find what works best for you.
Set clear expectations
While the goal of a task may seem obvious to you, it may not be the same with your team members. Whenever you delegate a task, provide clear instructions, and set an expectation or end goal. This includes milestones and deadlines. If you don’t do this, the assigned person will only execute the task to their satisfaction.
Create a management and feedback structure
Even though you’re taking a step back, your team shouldn’t feel like they’re alone. The outcome of their efforts is still your responsibility. Through the process, ensure that your team has the tools and access they need. Create a feedback structure that allows information to flow. Many companies use project management software such as Slack and Redbooth for this need.
Proper management is essential to maximize the productivity of your staff. Through delegation, you’ll be helping them make the most of their time and sharpen their skills.
Ever taught a child how to ride a bike? The moment you let go is scary. But regardless of how well they can ride on their own, you have to let go. That’s how they’ll learn. Treat your staff in the same way. After teaching them your process and giving them the needed tools, let go (but monitor from a distance). Some will swim, and some will sink, but give it some time to determine which.
A difficult part of this process is realizing that some team members will continue to sink without your help. In this case, you need to find new people for this position rather than take on their responsibilities. With this method, you will eventually build a team of people who you trust with your business and who can be relied on.
The best leaders are those who know how to delegate. They understand that building value takes a combination of effort and skills which cannot come from only one person. Most importantly, they prioritize themselves and make time for relaxation. Take your leadership and personal health to the next level. Start delegating.
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