Your business is growing and you’ve taken on one or more additional staff members – but are you really maximising their skills and getting the best out of them?
Or, if you’re honest, do you find yourself still doing some of the things you employed them to do?
Perhaps you’re still running round like a headless chicken and yet they seem somewhat under-utilised…. or they are not doing things the way you want them done…. or they are busy doing ‘other things’ …. or you’re so frantic that it is just quicker to do it yourself at the moment…. one day you will sit down with them and show them what to do (but that time never comes, right?!)
Well, help is at hand!
3 Reasons why business owners find it difficult to delegate
Firstly, we have to assume that you have the ‘right people on the bus’ to use that old cliché. If you haven’t, then no amount of delegating will help you. Take appropriate action now.
In my experience, however, many entrepreneurs struggle to delegate for 3 key reasons:
1. Too busy ‘doing’
They haven’t freed up enough headspace to think about how best to delegate a particular task or project – because delegation needs to be PLANNED – and they’re too busy DOING!
2. ‘Nobody can do it as well as me’
They still believe that ‘nobody does this as well as I can’ so hold on to the task in hand (ah, the PERFECTIONIST (or is that control freak?!) entrepreneur!
3. Fear tackling bigger challenges
They hold on to the task or tasks in question because if they are busy doing that, they won’t have to face some of the bigger, more scary, challenges on the horizon (so it’s best just to ‘keep being busy’ thus putting off the moment when those scary things have to be tackled!)
Learning to Delegate in 5 steps
If this sounds familiar, you are not alone. So here’s where to start;
Step 1. Allocate regular thinking time
Block off some time (an hour is fine as a starter for ten – maybe first thing on a Monday or first thing on a Tuesday – doesn’t really matter. Do it when you know you have the greatest capacity for clear thinking).
Make this time commitment each week so you can give some serious thought to how best to utilise your team. Once this becomes a habit you will be able to delegate all sorts of things using the framework below.
Step 2. Identify tasks that can be done by others
Write down everything that (in theory at least) could be done by another member of your team. (In other words, it’s not essential that you do it). Keep going back to your list and refining it.
One of my mentors used to say ‘never do anything yourself that somebody who is paid less than you could do.’ That should focus your thinking!
Now, it is quite likely that you’re thinking ‘nobody can do this as well as I can’. But if you take that view, then you will be doing this for the rest of your working life. So be clear on whether that is what you want for you and for your business in the future.
Step 3. Detail exactly what needs to be done
If you have a particular task or project you want to delegate, write down everything about the task that needs to be done; just freeflow your thoughts until you have considered everything. Involve other people if that helps. Structure comes later!
Step 4. Start with one
Choose one thing to delegate to one team member to start you off.
Step 5. Top and tail the task
Top and tail the task so that it has a clear beginning, clear end, and milestones in the middle so that you can explain the task in a logical way to your team member.
So, you’ve chosen the task…. You’ve chosen the person to delegate to….you’ve got an outline of what the task looks like….. Time to get going!
The Delegation Framework
I’ve found that the framework below is a good reminder of how to make delegation work for whatever task or project you are delegating:
And think about what to delegate next!