You make a plan; you start to execute it. The question then becomes, who executes what? All too often, the business owner or leader chooses to do the executing. They forget they cannot do it all themselves while they commonly complain that they are the only one who is doing anything or can do anything. As a result, the leader must delegate activities or actions to others.
Some leaders struggle with delegation; so what can they do?
Delegation is a critical skill for any business owner or leader. I have heard a variety of reasons why this skill is not used more by leaders and owners. Among these are:
- I don’t trust them
- They don’t know how to do it
- I am the only one who can do it right.
In my mind, those are all very weak reasons for not delegating. My simple response to each is:
- If you don’t trust them replace them
- Teach them how to do it
- See my response number 2.
Effective delegation is a critical activity for management and leadership; both as a development tool and as a means of accomplishing the mission of your business. Delegation ensures a healthy business environment and engages your workforce. Engaged workforces are significantly more productive, and businesses that have them more profitable.
The steps involved in successful delegation are:
Define the task – If they don’t know what it is, then they can’t do it.
Select the person or team, Assess their ability or training needs – Are the people selected capable of doing the task? Do they comprehend what needs to be accomplished, and do they have the necessary KSA’s to do it? You may not always pick the team; you could pick the leader who in turn, will pick the team.
Explain why the task is being delegated – Why they are chosen? Not simply because you don’t have the time, energy, or desire either, but why they are doing this.
Define and communicate expected results – Simply performing a task is not enough. It has to have the desired outcome; it must achieve a result other than simply being done. Determine the desired outcome or result and communicate it. This includes any methods used to measure the outcome.
Identify resources required – What do they need to do the task? Money, equipment, training, and so on. Don’t let a lack of resources disrupt the process.
Set deadlines – When is the result or outcome needed? Next week or next year? If you don’t set one, the task could easily take more time that you require.
Provide support, feedback, and effective communication – Keep the team informed, communicate with, and support them. Further, they must communicate back to you. They also need to know how well they are doing. As they report, let them know how they are doing, both good and bad.
Delegation isn’t simply something you do to give yourself more time, although that is an outcome of doing it successfully. Delegation ensures that all of the talents of your workforce are used effectively as well as developed into stronger talents. As your business grows the individuals and teams you delegated to will become the future leadership of your larger organization. This is another positive that goes beyond simply hiring talent from external sources. The reward of promotion within your workforce becomes a practice that all can see. All of that made possible because of delegation.