Delegation is an important skill for any business owner to master, especially if you want to grow your business. As a small business owner, chances are you have very little time and money to devote to bottlenecks, accidental duplication of efforts and missed deadlines.
If you learn to let go and to delegate well, you’ll have more time to work on your business and you can devote your time to more important tasks, you’ll most likely provide employment for additional people and since we generally hire people with better skills than ourselves, you’ll make your business look even more amazing.
Fear of Delegation
If you are like me, you’re actually afraid to let go of control and to delegate a task to someone else. You know you can do it better, you can do it your way and you know exactly what your customer wants. One of the first things you need to do however to overcome this is to figure out what causes you to be fearful of delegation. Usually the reasons have to do with perfectionism, self-protection, lack of a workable system in place and being unsure of which tasks to delegate.
Set Up a Fail Safe System
Before you even start delegating, it’s important to share all of the knowledge you have by setting up a system of some sort, I personally like to use asana to detail all of the steps required to complete a particular task, I can then use a project management tool to keep track of things if I need to, which generally means when I am using external staff members or outsourcing tasks.
Streamline Your Processes
By detailing each step to complete a particular task, you have the opportunity to streamline those tasks, it’s also a good idea if the people performing the tasks have more skills than you to allow them to streamline the steps and add to them to make them better overall. However, do keep in mind that external contractors are mostly concerned with deliverables, so this process is more for your benefit to find out what types of things you can delegate. An example would be repetitive tasks like email management.
Hire the Best People for the Job
When you know what tasks you want to outsource, it’s important to find the right people for the job or task. To get the most bang for your buck, choose someone to do it who likes doing it, wants to do it, and considers it their expertise. In other words, don’t expect to hire someone who can do everything perfectly. Hire several people to do one or two things each perfectly.
Give Clear Instructions
Provide the contractor with the requirements, deadlines, scope of authority, purpose, goals and objectives, potential problems, and tools available to them (if any are needed such as passwords and sign-on information). By having everything ready and clearly laid out, you will not only look professional but you will tell the person performing the task that you expect great results.
Ask for Feedback
Once you assign a task to someone, speak to them by asking if they have any questions based on your instructions. That way they won’t be worried about asking anything even if it’s “stupid.” The worst thing you can do is criticize a contractor for asking a question. And of course, you need to get back to them quickly with your answers.
Focus on Deliverables
In many cases, contractors want you to focus more on deadlines and deliverables than too many details. How they get something done should not be as important as the result of what they got done.
Give Constructive Feedback
As often as is practicable give feedback to your contractors. This is especially true if you would like something done differently than what they turned in but you still want to keep working with the person. Give the feedback by giving compliments on what is good, then what could be better, and finally something good again to help build up the confidence of the contractor.
Allow for Some Mistakes
The fact is, no one is perfect and contractors will sometimes misunderstand directions. As long as something isn’t blatant such as constant missed deadlines, poor quality of work and so forth, accept that people make mistakes. If your contractors are afraid of making mistakes, sometimes it will stifle their creativity. So be open to new ideas and potential mistakes, while also being clear on your expectations. If someone however continually lets you down, don’t be afraid to let them go and to find someone else to complete the task.
Finally, the best way to become a great delegator is to let go and just do it, start with something small such as outsourcing your email customer service, eBook writing, report writing, blog post writing, article writing, social media marketing, and graphic design for projects. Write a list of everything that needs to be done to launch one of your products and try to outsource as much of as you can to see how it comes together. The more you do it, the more you’ll want to do it and the more you can focus on your business and the areas that need your expertize.