Learn to let go and delegate!
Learn to Let go and Delegate!
Being able to let go and learning to delegate is a major move forward for many owners of small businesses, and can allow you to start running your business instead of doing it. Delegation is imperative, if you want a successful business and a healthy work/life balance.
Why is delegating so important?
Delegating frees you up to tackle the really important aspects of your business. Too many leaders wrongly believe that only they, are able to do things right, and insist on being involved in every single detail of their business. They believe that this total hands-on approach is good for business, because they’re making sure everything gets done the way they want it. The important thing, is remember that you are a leader, and a leader is a person who manages the time, resources and the people. A leader oversees all of these factors to ensure the business is achieving its goals and getting results. But buried in the small details, a leader will become overwhelmed and lose sight of the big picture, and fail to see that the business is falling apart until it is too late. A good leader isn’t a slave to detail; they use their valuable time to deal with what’s really important, and this leads to greater success for them and their business. This is a golden rule for any business, no matter how small.
Most businesses start off as a one man or woman concern, where you’re used to running your own show, in your own way. Delegation and letting go, are things that go against the grain for many owners of small businesses. However, if you want your business and your personal life to develop and succeed, delegation is a skill you need to master. Eventually, even the smallest of businesses can get so busy that it will take over your life, and can have massive negative effects including stress, poor health and family problems. The first step to letting go, is admitting to yourself that you can’t do it all. If you want your business to grow and be successful then delegation is a must.
The first step is accepting that this entails “letting go”, and for most of us, it is not the easiest thing to do. It means trusting others to be involved, and also being prepared to move out of your comfort zone. It means getting rid of your need to control everything. Admitting you can’t do it all is the first step. When you reach this point, it may be beneficial to spend time thinking about what this means, and how it will affect your business, to enable you to clearly decide what support you need. Coaching can be very effective, in helping to support you in clarifying your needs and to plan effectively. It can also save you time and money, as you will then know exactly who you are looking for, and what you expect of them. Matching your needs to the right person will be easier to achieve first time.
Learning to delegate is not easy, but if you learn to use it, you can be free to focus on using your skills and talents more productively. It also enables you to concentrate on developing the business rather than doing all the tasks that don’t bring in any money.
Here are some tips to help you start the process of letting go and learning to delegate:
Decide you are going to let go and delegate.
Once you reached this decision you may feel unsure of how to proceed, and maximise the benefits of using others to help you. You may find talking through your situation with a coach, can help you be more specific about what you need, and the best way to achieve the results you want. Coaching can help you to think about your situation and your requirements, in a confidential and non-judgemental environment.
One step at a time.
If the thought of delegating is hard for you to deal with, then start by delegating one task only. This will enable you to build your own comfort zone around delegation, as you see the initial task successfully completed. Step by step, you can increase the amount of tasks to be delegated.
What should I delegate?
Often small businesses are overwhelmed with administrative tasks that take up so much time, that it leaves little time or energy for the core of your business or what brings in the money. This is where you need to identify the need, and decide what you can let go of?
Choosing the right person and someone you can trust.
It is essential and well worth your valuable time, to identify exactly what you need, and to be specific about the skills and abilities they need to possess. Be very clear and concise about what you need them to do, and explain your requirements. Clarify your expectations and standards from the outset so there are no misunderstandings.
Be specific about what you want done.
You have to be very clear about what you want done. The more precise your instructions, the better the quality of the output. Email your instructions so that there is no misunderstanding. Supply step-by-step instructions, as well as a few sentences clarifying exactly what you want achieved. Generic instructions such as “check my email” or “research this topic” are not specific enough, and will not provide you often with the information or outcome you want. Supply any documents, contacts or information you want used in the process. You cannot blame someone else if you haven’t been exact or precise with your instructions.
Let the other person get on with it.
Once you have picked the right person you need to trust them to complete the task. As difficult as it is, resist interfering and wait for the task to be completed before you judge how successful it has been. Also, allot the amount of time you want them to spend on an assignment. This is important, and a time management skill worth developing, that will aid both of you to be as efficient as possible.
Write a manual.
Be very clear about guidelines. Many owners of businesses that use outsourced support, prepare and write a manual or comprehensive guide to illustrate exactly how they want things done. Spending time on this initially, before they take anyone on, will save both money and time, and make sure that the work is done to a format and a standard that you require.
Good communication and the importance of feedback.
Use feedback to ensure that your working relationship is effective, productive and as stress free as possible. Decide on when and how they should report back to you. Ensure they know they can always ask for clarity or support if they need it.
Follow up with support and coaching.
Arrange to meet periodically, to discuss anything that may be of concern to either of you. This will ensure the working relationship develops, is productive and the standard of work is as you require. There may also be a need for support or coaching.
Always acknowledge a job or task well done.
Whenever a task is completed and to the standard you require, always take the time to convey this. Praise and thanks where appropriate, will be appreciated and help to build a mutual respect and an authentic working relationship. True leaders always value their support staff and listen to, and respect their ideas and points of view. They can often suggest constructive ideas, that may be of great help or improve ways of working.