When it comes to leadership qualities, the very first on my list is delegating. This is defined by Merriam-Webster as appointing, assigning, or entrusting responsibility or authority to another. But many business owners like to micromanage everything and can’t seem to let go of tasks that others in the company can or should do.
Benefits of Delegating
Delegating is a win-win situation. From an owner’s perspective, delegating frees up time that can be spent on priority matters. It’s virtually impossible for a business to grow in a meaningful way unless an owner can delegate effectively. An owner needs time to plan. Delegating can also mean greater efficiency for the company where skilled employees can do activities better (and effectively at less cost) than an owner.
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From an employee’s perspective, job satisfaction increases with responsibility. It is a way to empower employees, help them develop their job skills, and groom them for greater roles in the company.
But how to delegate? Delegating doesn’t mean abdicating a role in an activity or task. A leader must still give direction and provide the necessary resources to see that things get done. A leader must be available for ongoing feedback and to help if problems arises.
Here are some guidelines to make delegating successful.
1. Identify what can be delegated
If an outsider were to look at what you do on a daily basis, it probably wouldn’t be hard to pick the tasks that others can do. Thus, you, as the owner, need to take a critical look at how you spend time each day to identify the tasks that can be delegated.
2. Select the right person for the job
Decide who in the company is best suited to take responsibility for a particular task or project.
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3. Explain what needs to be done
It’s essential that employees to whom activities are delegated fully understand what’s expected of them and how you envision the completed task. It can be helpful to set deadlines and check in on the progress of the activity.
4. Reward successful completion
This can be anything from a simple thank you to a monetary expression of thanks.
5. Review the process
To make improvements, evaluate how your delegating worked out. Was it entirely successful so that you can repeat your actions? Were there things that could be improved?
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Let me close with another quote, this one from Vince Lombardi: “Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”
Barbara Weltman is the founder of Big Ideas for Small Business, Inc., which publishes Idea of the Day. She is the author of J.K. Lasser’s Small Business Taxes 2019 and other books that inform the small business community of tax, financial, and legal information they should know about.
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