Are you a star at delegating things to do in your business? Or are you one of the many small business owners who shy’s away from task delegation because you fear work won’t happen as expected, or that you won’t’ know how things are progressing once you have handed off the task?
Many small business owners feel a sense of apprehension when assigning tasks to others. However, if you want to grow your small business, you can only do that by focusing on the areas where you can contribute the most. That means you need to offload the work that you either:
- Have no expertise in
- Have no time for
- Simply don’t want to do
Ultimately, to be successful at what you do, task delegation is a must.
4 Tips for Effective Task Delegation
When you think about it, task delegation is just a sound management practice. As a business owner, you must set goals, create a plan of action, assign responsibilities, supervise the interim steps, and review the end outcome. Task delegation is quite similar but at a more routine, smaller scale.
If you are having a hard time letting go and delegating tasks, or if you aren’t getting the desired results from your task delegation efforts, here are some easy to implement task management tips.
1. Prepare for Task Delegation by Thinking It Through
For years we’ve worked with a brilliant entrepreneur named Ramon Ray. Ramon is a global speaker, best-selling author, and a small business influencer. He’s also the guy behind Smallbiztechnology.com and Smart Hustle Magazine. Here’s Ramon’s take on task delegation:
“If you want task delegation to work right, you must be clear on the outcome, and then delegate to the right person who is best suited for the task.” – Ramon Ray
Ramon is right on. To maximize results from task delegation, you must spend some time thinking about the delegation exercise.
- What exactly do you want to delegate?
Get extremely specific about this. Vagueness often leads to failure when it comes to task delegation.
- Who do you think is the best suited for the task?
You’ll want to ensure you delegate tasks to the right people, so keep the strengths and weaknesses of your team members in mind. For example, the person who writes your business blogs may not be the right person to create your promotional emails because it requires a different set of writing skills. Similarly, an employee who needs more supervision can be assigned tasks with established SOP’s, or standard operating procedures, whereas an employee who thrives on challenges and has the expertise can be given business-critical tasks.
- What support does the person doing the task need to complete the task?
Ensuring that you’ve provided everything needed, from instructions to login access to programs to marketing assets, etc. prior to them starting will keep the process running smoothly.
- When do you want the task completed?
Timelines and due dates are crucial for task delegation. You need to be clear about your expectations of delivery of the final task or progress check-ins during task execution. By doing this, you can better manage the process and evaluate if the person performing the task is going to meet the standards you expect.
- How will you and the person completing the task communicate?
Should all communication regarding the task be via email or do you use a project management or task tools like Asana or Trello? Choose one method of communication for your tasks so that you have all the information in one place. This helps to avoid confusion.
2. Start Small
If task delegation is tough for you, start small. As part of the letting-go process, begin with a small project that’s isn’t as critical but is necessary for your business. Allow the assignee ample time to complete the task. If they make mistakes, don’t give up on them. This is as a way for you to mentor them and teach them how you want things done.
3. Use Technology to Aid in Task Delegation
Whether you have one or several team members, it can be challenging to remember who is doing what and by when. To simplify the handling of task delegation, try using some sort of task or project management software.
Asana is a project management tool that team VirTasktic swears by. Asana is the perfect solution to help them manage multiple client projects and subtasks, without missing a deadline. With the tool, you can create tasks and subtasks, assign to team members, set dates, communicate about the task, attach files, and email tasks directly into the system.
If you are just starting out and want a more simple task tracking solution, try Trello.
Regardless of what task tool you use, it’s important to be consistent and to have a process that everyone will follow. Otherwise, your team will be fragmented on how they are communicating, and it will be difficult for you to manage.
4. Trust Your Team
Kunal Jain is CEO of PracticeForces, a medical billing company in Tampa Bay, Florida and founding member of the TIE Tampa Bay Angel Fund, a multi-million dollar fund which invests and mentors startup businesses. According to Kunal:
“In a corporate environment, people fail to delegate the task fully just because they don’t trust the judgment of the representative. A successful task delegation is only possible when delegator is ready to accept that his delegates are smarter than himself to handle the task.”
While the way you delegate tasks will depend on your overall leadership style, once you have communicated the task requirements to a team member, you need to trust their capabilities. Trusting your team members sends a clear message that you value their skills, and you want them to succeed.
Just because no one on your team currently has the skills needed to take on a particular task, does not mean it has to be on your plate forever. Most work skills can be easily learned, so consider investing in training someone from your team who you think will most effectively help you move items off your to-do list. It could be a short training course on uploading blog posts, creating sales flyers or even the art of making a winning sales presentation.
Task delegation is a skill that you can improve with practice. Just ensure that when you delegate you go through the steps of the ‘what and how’ of the task. When task delegation fails, it’s often due to a lack of communication and expectation on the delegator’s side. So, if you want to grow your small business, use these steps to start moving items off your plate to team members who have the right skills and who you can trust.
Need more help with delegation? Contact us to learn about our business management and project management services!