Delegation is crucial if you want to be able to develop your staff's skills and use their knowledge to its full potential
Some entrepreneurs make the mistake of trying to manage all of their company’s departments and making all the key decisions. But if your business is to grow then this cannot remain the case. Able and ambitious staff will find any type of micro-management incredibly frustrating and undermining. They will not feel their role is rewarding and will eventually leave and go to a company where they can realise their ambitions. However, the less able people, who don’t strive for greater levels of responsibility, are the ones more likely to remain.
The long-term effect of failing to delegate will be that your business will not grow and you will create a bottleneck in your organisation. The failure to delegate can quickly become a downward spiral; your remaining staff – the less ambitious and able – will not give you the type of return on investment that you need and will not respond well to greater levels of autonomy. Therefore attempts at delegation will probably fail and their shortcomings will justify a more hands-on approach. This in turn will only persuade the better staff to go elsewhere and so the cycle continues.
This somewhat depressing outcome is surprisingly common. Entrepreneurs are very proactive and independent-minded people, but typically they aren’t the best managers and the subtle art of delegation passes some of them by.
How to delegate
Delegation is about entrusting your authority to others enabling them to use their own initiative. This means that they can act and independently and are responsible for the outcome of tasks. However, you mustn’t be too hard on people for making honest mistakes, provided that they understand them and can learn from the experience. Obviously the best way to delegate is to find people who won’t go badly wrong in the first place, and generally it is best to get to know people and understand their strengths and weaknesses.
Key questions to ask yourself if considering delegating
When deciding whether to hand-over responsibility for a particular task, you should ask yourself some key questions:
- Is there someone else who has the ability to do the chosen task better than me?
- Am I really critical to the success of this role?
- Will deferring this particular task help the employee to develop in their role?
- Is this a one-off task or something that will reoccur?
- Is the success of the task crucial to your long-term future?
The answers to these should help you make the big decision. It will always be a tough call but one that it is critical to your success.