3 min read28 January 2019
Although you can get pretty good at juggling tasks, sooner or later you’ll need to take a break if you want to focus on the things that are most likely to grow your business—that means getting comfortable with delegation.28 January 2019
Business owners can struggle with delegation for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it’s due to an unfounded fear that giving away control will lower quality. Or it could be because employees genuinely aren’t experienced enough to take on critically important tasks.
Whatever the reason, in the long-run figuring out how to delegate is worth it. It means you can focus on the big picture goals while your employees benefit from extra responsibility and experience.
In case you need any more convincing, here are some of the other benefits of learning to let go of the little things.
As your business grows, so does your to-do list. Look through your regular tasks and group them into important things that only you can do, and tasks that others can be taught. As former Facebook and Google employee Molly Graham explains—the key to scaling up your business is learning to be comfortable with ‘giving away your legos’ when you need to build something bigger.
Think about which tasks keep falling to the bottom of your list, or which ones require more time than expected, and pass them on.
Despite technically being able to have as much time off as you want, you might only take a break once in a blue moon or when you’re forced to through illness or bereavement. During this time, you’ll have to delegate some or all of your responsibilities to your employees.
Plan ahead and take the time to teach your employees how to handle the more complex tasks on your to-do list while you’re there and able to answer their questions. This will help make the transition smoother when you’re absent. Who knows, when you return from leave, they may be able to take over that task for good, giving you more confidence to book time off in the future.
Teaching your employees new skills shouldn’t be something you only do in preparation for taking time off. Passing knowledge and skills on to your employees will benefit their development and help them become more of an asset to your business, as well as easing your own workload. For example, after years of experience, you might find it easy to create and send invoices, update your website or write product descriptions, but teaching someone else to do this will expand their capabilities and give you one less thing to worry about. By increasing their responsibilities, employees are likely to feel challenged and therefore happier in their jobs.
Being a business owner sometimes calls for you to be a Jack of all trades but it’s important to think which areas could be better handled by a specialist. Maybe one of your employees is a whizz on social media, or perhaps you have an aspiring photographer in your ranks. Use their skills to your business’s advantage and lighten your load at the same time. If this isn’t the case, and you don’t want to hire someone permanently to do these jobs, then you could dip into the growing pool of two million freelancers in the UK.
Delegation is about evolving from being the person who does everything in your business to the person who makes sure everything gets done. There are lots of benefits when you’re able to get the balance right, from being able to take time off to focusing on the things that are most likely to keep the train on its tracks, such as marketing and renewing important contracts.
One way to take a first step towards delegating more is to review at the end of the day a list of every task you completed. Looking back, which items could you have delegated but for some reason didn’t? It can be surprising how much time you spend sorting out a series of small things even though they weren’t officially on your agenda. By getting the small things off your plate first, you’ll be taking a step in the right direction.
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