As a business owner, you care about your company’s success more than anyone. That means that when your workload is overwhelming, it can be difficult to delegate. Delegating work has serious business benefits, though — it helps you get more done, builds a more powerful team, and harnesses the collective wisdom of your staff. The key is figuring out how to hand off tasks and let go.
Decide What to Delegate
When you start to delegate, it’s important to choose tasks wisely. Try evaluating every project that comes across your desk and ask yourself if someone else in the office handle the task, who has the necessary skills, and if there’s a benefit to doing it yourself. Soon, you’ll see a pattern — certain tasks are easy to delegate, while others require your personal attention. A junior employee can easily handle day-to-day tasks, while your time is better spent on new-client meetings or investor pitches.
Assign Tasks Based on Employee Strengths
It’s easier to feel comfortable about delegating when you know the employee has the skills to get the job done. Instead of handing out projects randomly, take a moment to consider who is best for the task. Playing to your workers’ strengths allows them to shine and helps everyone feel more confident with the delegating process.
Start With Small Tasks
Delegating requires you to trust your employees with mission-critical tasks. Not completely confident in their abilities? Try starting with small tasks. Instead of handing off the graphic design for an entire brochure, ask a worker to lay out one page. Each time an employee succeeds at a smaller project, it builds trust. Eventually, you’ll feel comfortable delegating large projects.
Give Specific Instructions
If you’ve been working with someone for a while, it’s easy to assume that you’re on the same page. When you hand off work, remember that your employees aren’t mind readers. You can help ensure effective delegation by providing specific instructions, and communicate any concepts or ideas you have in mind. It’s a good idea to encourage questions — a few minutes of discussion ahead of time can prevent miscommunications and delays down the road.
Learn to Let Go
At its heart, delegating is about letting go. You must hand off a task and trust that your employees are capable enough to carry it off. This is harder than it sounds, and many managers find themselves tempted to micromanage. If you’re looking over the worker’s shoulder or providing feedback at every step, it’s probably time to step back. In doing so, you’re empowering staff to use their skills, which makes them feel appreciated as professionals. Feeling stressed about letting go? Ask the employee to check in with you at major milestones. That way, you can keep tabs on the project while still allowing autonomy.
Delegating work to employees frees up your time for valuable business-building activities. After all, when you don’t have to worry about small tasks, you can focus your attention on the big picture — which helps your company grow and succeed in the long term.