As an entrepreneur, you have a ton of things vying for your attention. For even the most ambitious and driven business owners and leaders, every day is a busy one. When you’re planning to open a company you have to deal with lots of crucial issues. When you’re at the helm, things can get even more hectic as you strive to win customers or clients, run the company and grow revenue.
Know this: You can’t do it all yourself. For some entrepreneurs it’s tempting to try, but eventually they realize that attempting to be a human Swiss Army Knife won’t work if the business is going to move forward. There are priorities that must be addressed before others that don’t require your immediate attention. Also, there are others whose skill sets are different than yours who might be more efficient at doing things so you don’t need to learn to do them.
Rather than having a full plate all the time, here are some tips to help you break away from doing everything to delegating.
Learn to delegate.
If delegation is difficult for you, and it might be for various reasons, begin by delegating a few things that aren’t high priority items. Consider whom on your team would be the optimal person to complete a certain task, then hand it off to him or her. Ask your team member to keep you in the loop so you know the task has been completed. I would advise against micromanaging; if you’ve hired wisely, you have a staff of professionals on whom you can count, so you don’t have to watch over their shoulders. You’re too busy for this, remember?
Adopt a mindset of “I can do this, but so-and-so can do it better.”
This isn’t meant to compromise your ego but to help you free up some time. You’re a leader and you know your industry. But there are people on your staff or external vendors who specialize or simply have more experience in certain necessary areas. If expertise for highly specialized tasks doesn’t exist in your company, hire an outside contractor.
Delegate during planning.
Plan your work and work your plan. It’s an old adage, but there’s a reason it’s lasted so long. Many of the most successful business leaders run their companies this way. At the same time you’re setting monthly and long-term goals and timelines for accomplishing various initiatives, think about whom is likely to bring the most skill to each project. One employee might be a great project manager, while others are more likely to contribute more value as team members to carry out various parts of the project. Again, the project manager, in addition to keeping you informed, will run the initiative on a day-by-day basis, relieving you of having to do that.
Communicate your expectations clearly.
For every task you delegate, let the person know exactly what’s expected of him or her. Clear communication is a must. They need to know what outcomes you expect, perhaps what budget is involved, when the task needs to be completed, and any other project-specific information. You can also add a “why” to this; for example, “This paperwork needs to be completed and submitted no later than this date, or we don’t get our license renewed.”
Let them figure out how to do it.
Many company leaders and entrepreneurs who delegate effectively simply don’t care about the particular details of how their employees are handling the project as long as it gets done While you’re providing the staff member with a degree of autonomy related to the task, in many cases you can easily leave the execution up to him or her. Sometimes, delegating this way motivates the employee to expand their knowledge base; for example, accomplishing the task while figuring out something new in a software program that’s helping them do it in a more efficient way. So it’s possible that this approach can benefit you and the person to whom you’re delegating in different ways.
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