Part of being an effective leader is having the instinct to determine when it’s time to delegate.
However this is something that poses a real challenge to some. For many entrepreneurs, we’re usually more effective doers than we are delegators and it can be difficult to let go of the reins and cede control to other team members.
“What if it falls apart, what if they do it wrong, what if, what if…” we go over and over potential scenarios in our mind…
But challenging as it may be, don’t make the mistake of trying to do everything yourself. It’s important to build and develop trust with your team –and to be able to delegate effectively.
In order to be successful at delegation, though, you’re going to need a strategic approach.
Far from grabbing a shovel and heaving tasks at your team, being strategic means knowing the what, when and how of delegation.
- What can be delegated and what can’t
- When should a particular task be delegated
- How to successfully delegate a task
In this guide, we are going to touch on all three.
Once you’re finished, you will have a better understanding of task assignment, and will be able to easily identify when you need to take pause, and delegate a task to your team.
Is Delegation the Right Solution?
Ideally, you’ll want to delegate as many menial tasks as possible. In doing, so you create a win-win situation for you and your team.
But some tasks just don’t lend themselves to outsourcing.
To determine when delegation is most appropriate, ask yourself the following questions:
- First up, is this task something that offers value to your company? Or is it something that could be eliminated altogether? There’s no point in delegating tasks if those things aren’t going to help further your business, so make sure they add value before you assign them to someone else.
- Determine if this is a task specific to your abilities. Can you find someone else who has (or can be given) the expertise or information to complete the task?
- Is this a repeating task, will it recur multiple times in the future?
- Are you going to have the time to delegate the job effectively? Will you be able to provide time for training, Q&A, progress check, assessment and rework, if necessary?
- In the long run, should you delegate this task? Keep in mind that there indeed are a handful of mission-critical skills that need your oversight for long-term success.
If you can answer ‘yes’ to the above questions, then you have found a task that is a prime candidate for delegation.
Scenarios to Look Out For
I realize that it can be difficult at times to determine exactly when it is time to delegate. After all, we’re creatures of habit and once we start doing tasks, it’s easy for us to simply assume that we should continue on doing those things. But the fact is that this isn’t necessarily the best use of your time, especially as your business starts to grow and your responsibilities start multiplying quickly.
It’s very possible that delegating could help you to clear up a significant chunk of your workload –freeing you up to focus on strategy and other more high-level tasks.
With this in mind here are a few scenarios that you should look out for –signs that it’s time to delegate!
- You’re Wasting Your Time Via Cognitive Ease
We’ve all had those days in the office when we aren’t sick enough to go home, but not feeling well enough for critical thinking. Every now and then, giving your brain a rest is fine. However, if you are finding that menial tasks are taking up most of your time and that you’re not applying yourself –then you’re simply doing busy work.
These are tasks that you need to get off your desk so you can focus on more important things. It is also a great opportunity to challenge someone who needs to develop their skills and expertise.
If you fall into this category, you likely aren’t managing your time effectively. It may feel like you’re being productive but falling into cognitive ease is a vessel for procrastination.
- Automation Is Not a Solution
These days, automation is all the rage –and for good reason! If a task is something that can be automated, then by all means you should do so.
However, it’s also important to realize that automation isn’t feasible for every situation. Don’t be tempted to fit a square peg in a round hole just because some blog told you it’s the thing to do. Instead, consider the task in question, and whether it’s something that should instead be outsourced.
- You Have No Time to Grow Your Business
Are you are mired in the day-to-day, and are unable to take a step back to look at new opportunities, or consider plans for business development? Then it’s almost certain that you can benefit from delegation! Consider taking a good look at your routine tasks and find what can be outsourced. Growing your business is essential for its survival, so make sure you’re devoting enough time and resources to it.
- Team Members Are Looking to Develop New Skills
If you hired correctly, you’ll likely have members on your team that are looking to expand their knowledge base. You should be performing monthly or quarterly reviews. Who on your team is looking to take on more responsibility?
Keeping tabs on where each staff member is from a skills and development perspective is absolutely essential to reducing workload, and growing the skill-base of your company.
Note: As a side note, this is also a good opportunity to cross-train. For every important task at your business, you should have two people that can do it, and one good back-up. Otherwise, if someone leaves, then it’s tremendously difficult to pick up where they left off. Whether you have team members in-house or outsource to VAs make sure there are at least two people who can do every task.
- You Have No Personal Life
Do you live, work, eat, and breathe your job? Yes, it’s important to be dedicated to your company. It’s what got you here in the first place.
It’s also important to realize, though, that finding a balance is in order. If you overwork yourself and crash and burn, you won’t be of any use to anyone. Make sure to schedule time away from the office and pursue other interest. Don’t have the time? Delegate.
7 Quick Tips to Delegate Effectively
Okay so now you know that it’s time to delegate some tasks, the question is how do you go about doing this?
The right approach will help you to work as efficiently as you possibly can, allowing you to ensure that you’re devoting your time to high-level tasks, while outsourcing the rest to professionals.
With this in mind let’s dive right in.
- Determine WHO You’re Going to Outsource To
“Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters)
If there’s something weird
And it don’t look good
Who you gonna call? (ghostbusters)”
First up, you’ll need to determine who, exactly, you’re going to outsource to! In-house or a VA?
One great solution for many tasks is to enlist the help of a specially trained VA. With a VA, you have a cost-effective way to delegate everything from customer support, to bookkeeping, administrative tasks, and more. It’s a great cost-effective alternative to hiring full-time staff.
- Preparation Is Everything
Next up, you need to establish clear objectives for your team.
It isn’t fair and your results will suffer, if the task delegated to them isn’t thoroughly thought out, or if expectations are shifting.
Give them all the tools they need to succeed. Map out exactly what you’re asking for, and be precise in your expectations beforehand. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
- Assign Duties and Convey Expectations
You also need to make sure everyone’s crystal clear on what’s expected.
Now that you have developed a cohesive plan and outlined expectations, it’s time to convey this to your employee or VA. These details should include information on timing, budget, and context, at the very least. Also set expectations beforehand when it comes to for communication and updates, including frequency, content, and format. The more relevant information, the better.
- Confirm Commitment and Encourage Ownership
It’s also critical that you ask your team member directly for suggestions, ideas, and concerns.
Once again this is a step often skipped by managers. It is imperative that you don’t merely assume that employees have accepted the tasks they’ve been given. This will encourage an environment of self-ownership and will ensure that your team is committed to the task.
Relay to your team the expected results, confirm that they understand the process (including the schedule, budget, and tools) and come to an understanding that you both have mutual goals and interest in the success of the project. For more mission-critical projects, it’s also a good idea to communicate the consequences (for the company and for themselves) that will come to about if they fail to deliver on their promise.
- Do Not Reverse Delegate. Ever.
Now’s not the time to backtrack!
As owners and entrepreneurs, we’re all extremely overworked (even ones that effectively delegate).
Allowing your staff to push work back onto you is a classic failure of preparation on the manager’s behalf. Don’t let your team re-delegate tasks back to you. Instead, take any impasse as an opportunity to coach. Circle back and make sure they have the knowledge and resource to be successful at the task. You are going to be spending the extra time, either way, so you may as well use it teaching and better equipping your employee for the next occurrence of said task.
- Guarantee Accountability at All Times
To ensure accountability, you need to ensure that the lines of communication are open at all times.
Understand that the key to the process of delegating is accountability. This means that your team members should be able to regularly communicate with you about the status of the deliverable. The last thing you want is surprises at the eleventh hour. Whenever possible, it’s also a good idea to leave enough time for contingencies.
- Ensure That Outsourced Work Is Measurable
Last but definitely not least, it’s also important to ensure that the work that you outsource is measurable. Just as you would with an in-house team, make sure you establish clear benchmarks up front, so that your team knows what they’re working towards and to make sure everyone’s on the same page.
To see Key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can track with your virtual team get your FREE download!
As an entrepreneur and business leader, one responsibility that falls directly on YOU is to delegate tasks to your team and keep the operation moving forward.
You can do this by understanding what tasks can and should be delegated, knowing when a task should be, and finally by ensuring you’re clear on how to delegate them.
Above all resist the urge to overwork yourself and micromanage. You’ve created a growing company with a fantastic team –congratulations! Now let them work for you!
Which tasks could YOU delegate? What would you do with all that extra time? Don’t hesitate to reach out to a Sidekicks VA today to see for yourself how easy and efficient it is to outsource those tasks to a professional VA. Claim your FREE, no-pressure 30-minute brainstorming consultation!