Delegating helps develop your employees … and gives you time to focus on strategy!
Particularly for small businesses, there’s a feeling that you, as the business owner, must do it all. Certainly, if you are a “one man show”, this may be the case — initially. But at some point you need to grow your business and expand, and can’t be expected to do everything any longer. As pointed out by Nick Friedman in his article on Business on Main entitled “The Four Stages of Effective Delegation”, “to grow a business, you have to work on the business — not in it.”
However, there is a right way to delegate and a wrong way to delegate. If it’s done the wrong way — watch out! You’ll have more problems than you know what to do with, and you’ll be putting your business venture at risk. Here’s how to use delegation to develop employees.
First — let’s discuss the wrong way. Too often I have seen small business owners who delegate responsibilities to employees without providing training and guidance. In Friedman’s article, he tells the story of how he and his partner first turned over responsibility for driving their trucks to employees, only to find that their truck was involved in an accident, clients were upset and furniture was damaged. One of my clients left to a new employee reaching out to clients who contacted the company through the website. Unfortunately, she did not provide any parameters around how and what to communicate to those potential new customers. The result? Potential customers were turned off, thinking the business disorganized and therefore unable to meet their needs.
Now — let’s discuss the right way to delegate. Friedman discusses four stages of effective delegation. You can read them in detail in his article. Basically, he recommends that to effectively delegate you need to be sure that these steps are taken in each stage of the delegation process:
Stage 1: The employee is provided significant guidance in what to do and how to do it.
Stage 2: Ask the employee how he or she thinks it should be done, and provide feedback (agree or disagree).
Stage 3: The employee is empowered to handle the task, but report back to you daily.
Stage 4: The employee is empowered to handle the task and will report back to you weekly or monthly.
Delegation enables employees to feel as if they have control over what they are doing and how it gets done. It empowers them to take ownership of their work effort and provides them personal and professional development opportunity. All of this leads to employees who are excited about what they do, feel a part of a bigger effort, and are engaged in the business.
Very few businesses have career paths for employees. But rather than letting employees become stagnant in their roles and begin to lose interest and risk losing your good employees to another company, provide them opportunities to learn more and contribute through delegating projects to them to work on.
Delegation enables you to pass a segment of the operations of your company on to your best employees, while enabling them to contribute more directly to the success of the business. And this, in turn, enables you to focus more fully on strategy. After all, if you can’t focus on strategy, you can’t effectively grow your business and take it to the next level.
Your thoughts? How can you best share the workload with others so that you can focus on the big picture. What has worked for you? Please share in the comments field below.
Gina Abudi is president of Abudi Consulting Group, LLC, providing strategy around projects, process, people and technology to businesses of all sizes. Gina can be reached via her website, GinaAbudi.com.
Originally published: Sep 20, 2011