3 Essential Aspects of Effective Task Delegation
One of the hardest lessons business owners must learn is that they can’t do everything themselves. For some reason, delegating work to employees is an almost insurmountable task. “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” has been a phrase we’ve all heard.
However, there’s a way around that line of thinking! You can get it done right the first time, and you also don’t have to do it yourself. “How is this possible?!” you might wonder. Here are three easy tips to help turn control into guidance.
If you want employees to do something properly, they should know how to do it. Invest the time educating employees on how to complete the job appropriately. Instruction allows employees to be perfectly capable of doing work with far less supervision. Once they know how to do something properly, it is often best to let them discover their own personalized way to go about it. Truthfully, this is the most time-consuming part of the process. It is an investment in your staff to give them each the tools they need to consistently succeed.
Think of it this way, though: you would spend far more time and energy fixing mistakes your employees made after the fact. Imagine how much time you could save with even one more knowledgeable person on board. To me, that makes it worth biting the bullet and providing education and instruction to your workforce.
While it is a good idea to allow employees to do a lot of the work on their own, it is important to know that they are providing consistently accurate work on schedule. This is where spot-checking comes in. Spot-checking helps reduce the amount of work that falls on your shoulders after the project is completed. Don’t be afraid to check that things are going to plan: send reminder emails or casually ask employees how the project is going. This gives them the opportunity to let you know if there are any roadblocks in the way and will reduce the amount of reconciliation you have to do later.
Another helpful spot-checking tool is setting milestones or deadlines for the project. This helps break large developments into more manageable chunks. It also gives more opportunity to provide frequent, but not overbearing, feedback.
Responding is one of those things that doesn’t pay off immediately but is an integral part of delegating. It can also be the most uncomfortable. This is where you open up to employees about their performance, positive or negative. Be sure to praise those who have done well and offer constructive feedback to those who need improvement. It is vital to have employees understand what works and what doesn’t. If they do, they can have more responsibilities with fewer risks in the future.
You should also give employees the space to comment on how you can improve as a delegator. Be receptive to their observations and do your best to learn from them. Responding to feedback allows you to assign tasks to employees to do work that they do well, and to improve your management style.
It is not an easy task to give up control when you are accustomed to it. However, employees are often more than capable (and willing) of rising to the occasion if given the chance. Give yourself time to get out of the micro-managing mindset, and don’t forget that everything is a continuous process. Keeping that in mind, you should have a healthy relationship with delegation moving forward.