I find that one of the main differences between successful businesses and those that don’t do as well is the ability of the owner to delegate effectively. Delegation is one part science and one part art. Knowing what and who to delegate to is part of being effective.
Delegation is not abdication.
When you ask someone to take over a job in your company you are delegating a task or responsibility. This doesn’t mean you can assign the task and forget about it. Or at least most of the time you can’t.
When you ask someone to take something on they will probably need a little support. Are you willing to help provide that support? If not, then delegation is not going to be in the cards for you.
Know the skills of the people you delegate to.
If you have an administrative person who’s never done bookkeeping you might want to think twice before you have them take over your checkbook. Make sure that when you delegate an activity the person you delegate to has a good chance of doing the job well.
There is nothing more frustrating than being assigned a job and then have no idea what you’re supposed to do. Think to a time in your life when you were asked to do this. How did you feel? I bet you weren’t very happy with the person who delegated to you. You don’t want to be that person do you?
Have clear guidelines in your company.
You might like to the person who likes to make up how to do a job. I can promise you that most of your employees don’t want to have to do this. They would instead prefer to have clear guidelines for how they’re supposed to do the job and what their definition of success is.
When you delegate please don’t just tell someone to figure it out. If you haven’t put the activity in a system, there’s no better time than the present. Guidelines make people happy, I can promise you that.
You’re going to need to learn to trust.
When you delegate and it doesn’t go well, what’s your thought? If you’re like I was when I first started delegating I would think the person I delegated to made a mistake on purpose. Today, I know that this isn’t true.
I also know today that I never became any good at delegating till I learned how to trust those I had delegated to had the company’s best interest at heart. The people you have in your company really want to do it right. You have to learn to trust them. If you don’t, there’s a good chance you need to examine specifically why delegation isn’t working well for you.
I can also promise you that when you delegate mistakes will be made. You’re going to have to learn to allow others beside you make mistakes. The key is that when a mistake is made you follow up and make sure that there’s learning that goes with the mistake. Also, and this is important, make sure you know the mistake wasn’t made on purpose. It’s all part of learning.
You can do it better.
I love this excuse. I can do it better and because of that I have to do everything. If this is your belief, there is no way you’re ever going to be able to build a big business or even a business with more than three or four people.
At some point you’re going to have to let go. At some point you’re going to have to hire people who are better than you. I love having smart and engaged people working with me. It makes my life easier. Make sure you have people with the right attitude and skills. Then realize you’re really not the best at everything.
No mistakes zone here.
One of the reasons I hear that I can’t delegate is because someone new will make mistakes. Yea, and what’s so bad about that? Isn’t that how you learned.
I know that I’m repeating myself. It’s because letting others make mistakes is the real key in delegation. Without it mistakes, there is no learning and no trust. It’s really that simple.
If you can’t tolerate others making mistakes (btw, you do make mistakes) then you’re never going to learn to delegate. It’s just part of the process. When someone makes a mistake, here’s a simple question…..”What did you learn?” That’ll help you make mistakes into learning opportunities. And everyone wants to learn.
Are you willing to stop being the bottleneck in you comparny? If you don’t learn to delegate that’s the role you’re destined to play.