As a small business owner, there are times when you feel like you are handling everything on your own and even when you do assign a job to someone within your establishment; it doesn't always get done as scheduled. This is a very common occurrence and you may hear excuses such as "I just didn't know that it needed to be sent out today" or something on the lines of - "I have never done that before and don't know how".
It is answers like these that become very baffling and also why business owners hesitate to delegate. When questioned about their lack of delegation, most business owners respond with a variety of answers such as:
- "I just don't have too much patience"
- "It takes much longer for the work to get done when I assign it to someone"
- "I need to ensure that it's done right"
- "I'm not the kind that likes to delegate"
You may feel this sounds very familiar. On occasion, business owners realise that they aren't very confident about assigning tasks; in most instances this apprehension stems from lack of complete understanding of what best practices are; some business owners just lack the experience. The fact is that delegating can actually be quite scary and people often feel it's time-consuming and has a negative vibe to it. But the fact is that if you practice, it's a skill that can be learned.
Here are some important questions you should be asking yourself well before you delegate:
- Does that particular employee have the abilities to handle the given task?
- Are you very clear about the training and knowledge required?
- Before delegating any task, ensure your employee has the necessary skillset required to complete it.
- While you might know how that task has to be completed, being very clear about your expectations and training your employees properly will save you far more time in the long term.
- Does that employee have all the required tools to complete the task?
It's not difficult to see what can occur when any employee is given tasks that can get them in over their heads. If you don't give your employee the knowledge, training and tools required for completing that task, it can prove to be disastrous for you and your business and the situation will just end up becoming a negative experience for your employees.
Some more relevant questions
Have you included a proper deadline?
The deadline for any task must include the day and time at which the task needs to be completed. So you need to be specific and say – "I'll need this back latest by 11 am on Wednesday the 12th"; this ensures there will be no surprises.
Can your team member complete that task by the deadline?
If you expect a direct report to work on tasks you have delegated, you need to ensure they have the time to tackle them. Make it a point to check how they are progressing with the work. Reach out to them about their progress and maintain follow up notes. When you stay in touch, it tells them - this job is important and you want them to succeed.
This is one more opportunity for you to hone your leadership skills. While these questions may seem very basic and simple, they can go a long way on transforming you into a very productive leader; however you need to persist and practice in a consistent way.
It's a win-win
Avoiding delegation only indicates you are focusing too much on your business’ day-to-day operations and adding to your work burden; excessively technical tasks don’t give you the scope to evolve and become a more effective manager.
When you delegate, you give your employees the opportunity to grow and are able to focus on more critical aspects of your business.