No matter how efficient, multi-tasked and organised you are in business, at some stage you will most likely need to call on the assistance of others in order to get everything done. Learning to appreciate the importance of delegation is essential for anyone in business who strives for success.

Many business owners and employees try to take numerous tasks and projects, spending too much time on office administration jobs such as booking appointments, social media, answering the phone and emails. This is often at the expense of other more important tasks that would help build the business and revenue. It’s natural to want to do everything yourself, but when you understand the importance of delegation you see you don’t need to.

With the right mindset (understanding that you are not the only person who can do the job well and trusting others to do this for you), you can learn to delegate.

After realising the importance of delegation, the next stage is to plan what areas of business you will delegate. My clients delegate their office administration, customer service, call handling, social networking and public relations to my expert virtual office support team. I delegate to my team and contractors as I realise I cannot do everything solo.

While we may like to think we can run our business like ‘Superman’ or ‘Wonderwoman’ that approach is no way to maintain a healthy and prosperous life. That next phone call we miss or email we don’t respond to could be a job lost. Delegating jobs to others will save us from burnout, prevent the loss of new business or clientele, and enable us to build a solid foundation and reputation.

The next step is deciding who to delegate to. Delegating to staff who have in-depth knowledge of the company is one approach but it may not be the best solution. Increasing internal staffs workload may decrease their productively and create friction if you expect too much from them.

Outsourcing skilled contractors and companies with specific skills, tools and knowledge to support businesses is a popular solution. Contractors adhere to your deadlines to provide you with the work you require and in the negotiation phase you will agree on a reasonable budget.

By delegating, you will no longer need to work around the clock to finish jobs. Learning the art of delegation will enable you to meet the demands and deadlines of your clients and free up your time so you can focus on innovation, strategy and growing your business.

Steps towards delegation:

  • Prioritise and define the projects that cannot be delegated or carried out by anyone else other than yourself.
  • Define what tasks and projects another person in your company can do for you.
  • If the task can be automated by technology systems then automate!
  • Outsource to the appropriate person or contractor to carry out delegated tasks. Ensure they have time to understand your business, train, and carry out required tasks. They will be representing your company so ensure they understand it and what drives it.
  • Time and resources must be available initially for training, to answer questions and give feedback to your delegates.
  • Time tracking: I would suggest you set up a time tracking system for yourself and your employees or outsourced team so time spent on projects is recorded.
  • Hone your delegation skills and do not micro-manage. Look at how you communicate your goals and articulate the desired outcome. Be specific and empower your delegates so they can also decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and in what timing.
  • Ensure your delegates are best suited to the task. You want them to work efficiently and accurately with your goal to free up your time for other business while you trust them to carry out the task on your behalf.
  • When you delegate, set time frames which work for all involved. If you are outsourcing, then remember they cannot read your mind. Make sure your handover is planned and clear. Do not assume they are mind readers, especially if they have not worked with you before. Planned and timed works best.
  • Remember that the responsibility falls with you so delegate and manage the jobs carefully.

Do you delegate effectively?