Entrepreneurs and small business owners typically have a hard time delegating to others. We’re control freaks, obsessively detail-focused and so invested emotionally into what we’re doing that it’s hard to let others do some of the work.
We have no choice.
Delegating is critical to a small business or entrepreneurial venture. No one person can do everything and it becomes so easy to get lost in the minutae of things and lose focus on the bigger picture. Small business owners need to be leaders, and part of leading is delegating.
This post was inspired by Susan Abbott’s blog post, The Power of a Good Story.
Here are 6 steps for delegating successfully:
1. Know What You Want. If you don’t know what you want, you can’t expect anyone else to. No one can be a “mind reader.”
2. Express What You Want Clearly. It’s important to give people a clear vision of what you want. What are your goals? What do you need done? Providing instructions can be helpful too, but don’t overdo that aspect of it. The most important thing is that you express everything you want very clearly.
3. Set Expectations. It’s not enough that you’ve told someone what you want. Make sure expectations are laid on the table. “This will be successful if X, Y and Z happen.” And, “I need X, Y and Z finished by Friday.”
4. Trust. You need to trust those people you delegate to, otherwise you’ll worry too much, micro-manage and generally make a nuisance of yourself.
5. Let Them Do It Their Way. You do things your way, and everyone else has to do it exactly the same way or else. Right? Wrong. Let people do things their way (remember the trust?) More importantly, provide enough flexibility that they can add their own flavor to the mix. Let them create. Let them add unique touches to what they’re doing.
6. Communicate and Follow-Up. Delegating doesn’t mean abandoning someone to do something until it’s complete. You want to be communicating throughout the process (rinse and repeat steps 1-4) and following-up with people to make sure everything is going smoothly. This isn’t about over-managing, over-analyzing and standing over people’s shoulders staring at their computer screens. At the same time, we don’t want to manage with a Jell-O Fist. Communication is key, setting measurable mini-goals along the way, and carefully but not over-zealously monitoring progress.
In Susan Abbott’s post she quotes from a book by John Wood founder of Room to Read — “Nobody Ever Washed a Rented Car.” He didn’t originally say that, but when we think about delegating it’s a perfect statement.
The secret to successfully delegating work is to not just make people feel like the work is their own, but to actually give them ownership.
If someone can feel ownership for something, feel like they’re not just a robot mechanically following someone else’s instructions, they’re going to be more passionate, interested and dedicated. And, feel more responsibility to you and the work.
* Employee Empowerment Contributes To The Customer Service Experience
[tags]entrepreneurship, small business, delegating, productivity, managing employees, management, business[/tags]