Many people specially those involved in running their own businesses find themselves responsible for everything their business involves and multitasking most of the times. From purchasing to marketing, from financing to billing, every aspect of their work is controlled by them. But it is a known fact that there is a limit to your time and capacity to work. When you keep controlling all the things even as the work load increases, it leads to many problems like delays or improper handling. Your work starts to suffer and to correct that ,you try to work even harder. If you find yourself stressed and stuck at such situation often, read on to gain insight into the very important skill of delegation that will free up your time and bring more efficiency into your work.
What is Delegation
Delegation is passing on the authority and responsibility of work-related tasks to a subordinate. This empowers the subordinate to make decisions in relation to the successful completion of the tasks. This skill is very vital for the managers to learn, as otherwise it will lead to stunting of the company’s growth. Delegation helps by way of increasing the efficiency, completing jobs in time bound manner and most importantly it frees up the leader from micromanaging day to day working and focus on the larger task of providing vision and direction for the company’s future growth.
Why to Delegate
The most precious resource in any business is the time. Everyone has same 24 hours in a day and if someone has the habit of micromanaging everything in their business or job then they will always end up feeling short of time. You can not make more time but you can definitely devote more of your time to the tasks that are most productive for your business rather than getting caught up in the whirlwind of doing all the other routine but less important tasks.
The power of delegation is that it allows you to focus on what you love to do and what you specialize in. The success of your business will always be limited if you don’t master this essential skill. When you take help of other people, you in a way leverage your resources and are able to find many more opportunities than you will be able to do after a long time if you try to do it all single-handedly.
Delegation also helps to increase the morale of the subordinates when they feel they are looked up to by the seniors and that they are responsible. It helps them to grow and reach their full potential.
Many people fail to delegate as they fear loss of control. They feel it is easy to do the job themselves rather than getting it done by the others as it is time consuming in the beginning. You need to pass on your vision and train the subordinate, how you want the job to be finished. It is imperative for you to realize at this stage that it may require some of your time and attention in the beginning but in the long run this will be one of the most beneficial steps for your organization.
When to Delegate
You should consider delegating a task when you feel that it is no more the best use of your time. If your skills in other areas can provide more value to the company then it is time that you delegate the current task to another person who has the necessary skills to complete it. If the task is of the routine nature and is not so much critical for the long term success of the organization then that is the task suited for delegation.
You should delegate when there are occasions that a task is required to be finished in a time bound manner and you need the help of other people to meet the deadline. Availability of trained person with the expertise to complete the task is another factor that determines whether it can be delegated or not. Lastly when you don’t have the know how of performing a particular task yourself, you need to delegate it.
How to Delegate
Once you have decided to delegate you need to clearly convey to the employee, what are the desired outcomes, restrictions, responsibilities and accountability in the new position. Provide them all the support and as Nike co-founder, Phil Knight says, “Tell your people what to do and not how to do. Let them amaze you with the results.” Keep your focus on the results as actually that is the whole purpose of delegation.
While delegation it is vital for you to see that the people to whom the responsibility is being delegated are skillful and have adequate experience in the relevant field. If the person is not already trained, arrange for providing training before transferring the responsibilities. Give them some time to settle in and observe them for sufficient period of time before you make any opinion about them.
Another important thing to keep in mind is that no two individuals are equal. The new employee might have a different approach or method of working. You should give them enough freedom to complete the task in their own style without compromising on the net outcome. Do inform them how you want the work to be done but don’t interfere too much. Let them learn on their own.
You need to ignore some initial shortcomings of the other person, keep in mind that you have been doing this task for a length of time whereas the other person is just a beginner. Your patience is required in understanding that a person who is very successful and capable in one task may not be equally successful in a different situation. Understand that someone’s output is not guaranteed forever, so if you find that the person is not up to your expectations even after giving training and time to settle, it will be wise of you to think about his shifting to another position where his talents are better utilized and he could excel.
Lastly bear in mind that delegation is neither an activity that you do and forget, nor it is the abdication of your duties. Delegation in fact is a fine art that all successful businessmen and leaders have perfected. Delegation helps to make you free to spend your time more judiciously and increase the productivity, but in the end as you move up the ladder you become even more responsible for the final outcome.
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