James P. Friel
Feb. 12, 2020
Have you ever asked someone to do something for you, and then felt like it would have been better if you had just done it yourself?
Or have you ever found yourself holding on to too many tasks because you’re afraid of losing control?
Most business owners have felt these things as their companies grow and they begin to rely on other people to get things done. But as we all know, as your business grows, you can’t (nor should you) do everything yourself. At some point, you have to learn how to delegate.
The good news is that delegating is not rocket science. By focusing on the fundamentals, you can learn to delegate effectively and reclaim your time.
Knowing what should (and shouldn’t) be delegated
The most important aspect of delegating with confidence is prioritizing tasks and figuring out what needs to be handed off.
Here are the questions you need to ask yourself to figure out whether a task should be delegated:
- Does it need to be done? If it doesn’t actually need to be done, the worst possible thing you can do is delegate it. This would be a waste of time and money. As Peter Drucker once said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.”
- Is it a recurring task? If a task is going to repeat, then look for ways to partially or fully automate it.
- Can someone else do it? If yes, then it should absolutely be delegated. This will free up your time to focus on your highest-value activities.
- Are you actually the best person to do the job? If yes, then do it yourself, keeping in mind the answer to this question is likely to change over time.
The delegation triangle
Once you’ve established that delegation is the best course of action and what tasks need to be delegated, you’re ready to develop a solid delegation process.
Think of delegation as a triangle, with the three points being who , what , and when . The delegation triangle can keep you on track and make delegating tasks easier.
Who: You need to get very clear about who is accountable for completing a task. Don’t just say, “Hey, I need help getting this done.”
Designate a single point of accountability for each task. The last thing you want is for your team to be unclear on who needs to do what tasks.
What: Paint a clear picture of the outcome you want. Make sure this is every bit as clear to the other person as it is to you, so you don’t have to go back and rework anything.
When: Set clear and realistic deadlines so everyone is on the same page. (It’s a lot easier to define the when after you get clear on the what).
One of the biggest things to understand about delegation is that you and your team build trust with each other over time though success.
With a set process for determining which tasks should be delegating and clearly outlining your expectations for the task, you’ll begin to delegate with confidence, help get the best out of your team, free up your own valuable time and ensure you’re not a bottleneck as your company grows.
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