If you run a small business you already know how hard it is to delegate tasks and clear your plate of some busywork. However, we also know that this company is your baby and that no one can run it better than you.
Well, while this is probably true, what you will end up doing without delegating will be deleterious to your business as well to your health. I don’t know if it’s true, but it’s been said that a good manager only needs one chair, and he delegates the rest. It will not only be liberating, but you will empower your employees to learn the business to a degree that they would never get to if you did everything.
So how does one of the world’s largest tech companies handle delegation? True, they are neither a start-up nor small business, but the same lessons can be applied to your company. On a side note, the two top traits of google managers were delegation and not micromanaging employees.
These tend to go hand in hand. I would personally add a third to the mix; financial incentive. Perhaps Google does have some sort of bonus schedule, but there is nothing like ownership in a brand that motivates employees. Think back on how many Microsoft, Intel, and other fledgling companies gave stock to their employees, later to be worth millions.
Okay, you know what to delegate and who to delegate it to. Now it’s time to actually hand-off the task. The main reason why most managers or business owners don’t delegate is that it takes a lot of upfront time and effort to train others. The process of mentoring a backup can be so time-consuming that many would rather overload themselves and run the risk of burn-out than teach someone else. It may not be convenient in the short term, but it’s necessary for both you and your employee’s development in the long run.
Let’s take a quick look at the steps you can take to make delegating tasks possible.
Explain the Task: Summarize what they will be working on and explain why you selected them for the work. Let them know the significance of the task to the business.
Detail the Responsibility: This may actually be the hardest for the employee to grasp. Tell them what you want the result to be, but not how to get there. Just get it done. This is the definition of delegating.
Solicit Questions and Suggestions: The perception of this step is crucial for your employee to take ownership of the project. Make this give and take a conversation between the two, not you telling them what to do.
Impact or Scope of the Work: So employees understand the importance of their work and prioritize accordingly, make sure you connect the dots and explain how the task supports other team initiatives.
Empathy and Encouragement: How novel. When was the last time your boss came up to you and thanked you for a job well done, and expressed empathetic gratitude for your service? Make sure they understand that you’re trusting them to deliver results.
Delegating isn’t the easiest thing to do. But you have to look at it as an investment in your employees. They learn, and you pick up more bandwidth to tackle other things. This is a long-term win-win.