As an entrepreneur, in order to become truly successful in business, there comes a time when you have to make the switch from a ‘hands on’ entrepreneur to true business leader. One of the steps to making this happen is delegation.
There’s no doubt that as an entrepreneur your business is your ‘baby’. You’ve seen it grow from a spark of an idea into something quite successful. Understandably, this has been down to your hard work and determination.
And this presents a problem… why?
Are you a threat for growth?
Firstly, like many entrepreneurs, you may believe that there’s no one better positioned to carry out key tasks than you. Although understandable, the issue is that as your company grows you have to delegate. If you don’t do this and insist on being ‘hands on’ in every aspect of your business, it will stifle your company and ultimately become a big threat for growth moving forward.
A threat for your employee turnover
Secondly, by not delegating responsibility to key employees, you stand a high chance of losing them. It’s all too easy as an employee to become frustrated when every decision making moment has been taken away from you.
It’s fair to say that not too many people like to be micro-managed and by losing key employees in vital areas of your business, it’s again going to have disastrous consequences.
For these reasons alone, overcoming the delegation barrier is vital if you want to grow your business further.
Let’s assume you run a multi-million dollar motor industry plant producing hundreds of cars every week. Your success has been built on quality and this is something you’re very proud of. However it stands to reason that you wouldn’t personally test the quality of every single car before it left the factory.
Instead you would hire a team of quality controllers to do the job for you. Apart from causing chaos, carrying out the task yourself would slow down a plant’s productivity to the point of melt-down.
In short, delegation and development (or the lack of) can be enough to make or break your business and as such, you have to become a delegation professional. It really is that clear cut!
So what’s the key to delegation?
- Making clear decisions
As a business owner and employer you need to make a clear decision about what areas of your business would benefit best from delegation, and to whom. Understand that you cannot possibly be involved in everything and more often than not, letting go of a process is often the hardest part.
You may be under the impression that the only person who fully understands the process is you. If you master the art of delegating wisely, this won’t be a problem. With the right employees, they will learn and improve what’s been invented and created by you.
- Allow them freedom to make mistakes
Delegation also means allowing the employee freedom to explore new ways of carrying out a task. It’s no good giving someone responsibility for a task then adopting a ‘my way or the highway’ approach. Instead employees need to be given the freedom to make mistakes if necessary as this is by far the best way of learning.
If you delegate wisely, this can be done with limited risk. Your employees need to know, that they can make a mistake – but only once! You need to establish a system for the whole company, where mistakes will be shared so others don’t have to repeat them!
- Giving the right responsibility to the right people
Not everyone is the same and not everyone likes responsibility. For the members of staff that want to take on responsibility, you need to learn to give it to them in a way that they want and are able to cope (and grow) with. Never forget to keep in touch even with the most experienced executives, everyone needs feedback to improve.
- Delegate in stages
Start by giving out small areas of responsibility and when this has been mastered then give them more. If you become a true delegation professional and you know your staff, then after a period of time you should be able to let go of the reins. Always be sure to monitor and check progress and if necessary, give new instruction or direction.
The task of monitoring and giving feedback never ends for a leader! Because it’s the only way to become better…
- Your fast-track to become a role-model in delegation
As an executive coach I assist executives and entrepreneurs in improving their skills in delegation. To step back and let others do the work can be a daunting learning process, but with our tailor-made coaching you will enjoy the freedom you gain by delegating wisely and using the time you win to focus on business development and growth.
If you want further information on delegation and development of key staff, then I can recommend ‘The Four Hour Work Week’ by Tim Ferris. In this book he explains how to leverage time in order to really grow your business.
This article is part of the series ‘From entrepreneur to leader’. Here you can find more topics covering other important leadership traits such as staying focused and becoming a top-class sales leader.