Guest blog: Embracing Delegation

As a founder, it’s hard to let go of some tasks. But as your business grows, you quickly find that it’s impossible to “do it all.” Therefore, it’s essential to embrace delegation for your business to evolve into a fast-growing enterprise successfully.

Consider these tips for a successful delegation transition before you run off and give away all your least favorite “time suck” tasks to the juniors on your team.

  1. Pick the right person – Who could benefit from the learning opportunity that this new responsibility would bring? Set your business up for success by choosing the right person for the job. Who do you feel is effective in taking over some tasks? Who on your team has the availability, room to grow, and is itching for a challenge?
  2. Be clear on responsibility- Once you’ve chosen the right person, take the time to outline the duties, steps to complete the task, and most importantly, your expectations and markers for success. For example, be specific on which circumstances you expect this individual to make their own decisions and when to consult you instead. Transparency on your expectations from the outset will significantly cut back on frustrations and confusion down the line and will allow you to commit your attention to other areas.
  3. Let it go- Micromanagement is one of the best ways to ensure your delegation is NOT a success. Unfortunately, it will continue to divert your attention from more growth-driven endeavors. Furthermore, it leads to errors as employees make more mistakes when their boss hovers over their shoulders. Instead, practice the “70% Rule”, whereby if a team member can complete a task at least 70% as efficiently as you could, let it go!
  4. Accept differences- It’s important to remember that “different” is not necessarily “wrong.” If the team member you chose is a good one, they will likely take ownership of this new task and might start to do some things a little differently. Unless these differences are detrimental to the process and outcome, please resist the urge to correct them.  If the bird glides instead of flies, he will still get to where he is going (perhaps even more efficiently or effectively).
  5. Be a trainer and coach- Make time to train. If it takes you twenty minutes to teach a task that eats up thirty minutes of your time daily, you free up 2 ½  hours per week with a 20-minute investment. Most learning comes through doing. Watch your protege and be a safety net that keeps them from doing mortal damage. You have to give them room to fail. Like you, they will learn from their mistakes. Your only charge is to avoid permanent damage.

The art of delegation is far from new territory. The Harvard Business Review published a classic article in 1974 entitled “Management Time: Who’s Got the Monkey?” it is one of their two most popular articles as measured by the number of reprints sold. When they re-issued it in 1999, they added a commentary by Steven R. Covey.

About Joe McCullum:
Joe McCullum brings a wealth of training and experience to his role as a business coach. In his thirty-plus years of leadership service, he has collaborated with and led over twenty companies in a dozen states and six countries through various growing pains including; financial recoveries, system restructures, ownership changes, staff reductions, and stable, purposeful growth. Joe offers professional solutions for people, processes, and products. Connect with Joe at Eagles Wings Business Coaching. Schedule a free consultation while you’re there!