you-can-do-anything-but-not-everythingWe all like to think we can do it all, but in reality, one of the most essential traits of a successful business owner is knowing when to delegate.

If you’re struggling with the thought of delegating a task, the first thing to examine is where your mental blocks are coming from. Do you believe that you are the only person that can do this task properly? A great antidote to thinking this way is consider how much it is costing the business to have you doing the task. What is the value to the business of the strategic tasks you could be doing? There are times when the strategic cost of not delegating is just too high.

Reasons for not delegating

Its reasonable to worry that if somebody else carries out an important task or project on your behalf, it could lead to mistakes, or work that’s of a lower quality. There is always the chance that a mistake will reflect badly on your brand, perhaps losing you a client – but it doesn’t have to be that way. There is every reason to believe that delegation can be successful. With the right precautions and by following these steps, you can make your delegation worth tens of thousands of dollars in strategic gains.

Break the task down first

It helps to break a project down into smaller, measurable tasks and steps which can be followed by anyone carrying the work out in future. For each task, define what success looks like, or what quality standards need to apply. This way it is clear to the person performing the task what needs to be done, and you have a clear way to measure performance and give feedback against the agreed standards.

Explain to the person you are delegating to exactly what you need them to do, in what order, and why the project is important to you and the business.

Screencast.comConsider documenting the task using a tool like Sweet Process, which makes it easy to share your procedures and for others to learn how to carry out the task. For online or computer based tasks consider recording short screencasts with a tool like Jing which makes it easy for team members to re-watch at any time and follow the procedures.

Set review dates and make sure that the person involved knows that they can consult you if they need to. Establish and agree the amount of support and supervision needed at the start.
You’ll need to decide:

  • Which tasks need to be done, and any deliverables;
  • What resources you can make available, and any limitations or constraints that might apply, such as shared software, communication, timings or regulations.
  • The deadline for completion of the project, including dates for progress reviews and check-ins.
  • How much input to the project you can personally give, and whether you will be able to train or coach the person you delegate to.

Find the right person

Look for somebody who has the necessary skills and experience to competently take on the work, and who has enough time to do it properly. Also consider attitude as a major factor in choosing the right person. Are they keen to do a good job, and hungry to provide a good service? Do they have a stake in making sure the work is done well?

At Boldly we have a simple premise. We only recruit people that are passionate about doing a good job, and passionate about working from home– people that share the belief in going the extra mile in order to retain that privilege. That’s the sort of standard you want to set in selecting a company to work with.

Finding the right person will save you the worry that they won’t do the job as well as you can, or that they won’t pay enough attention to detail. If you’re selecting a Virtual Assistant Company to do the work, reassure yourself by checking testimonials and making sure that the person assigned to you has the necessary skills.

Focus on the result

Once you’ve given the work to someone else to do, and trained them so that they are set up to succeed, let them fly.

Make the most of delegating by handing over the project and letting it go. Don’t try to take over – and avoid the temptation to micro-manage, as that will defeat the object of delegating in the first place.

Remind yourself that the whole point of the delegation exercise is to make your life easier and that you can trust them to be able to cope with the project. If you’ve made your expectations clear and explained everything thoroughly, you should be able to relax and concentrate on other more important things.

When you’ve successfully delegated once and achieved success, it will get easier and easier.