Delegation: Key to Increased Productivity
Time is a limited resource. As much as you want to have more than 24 hours, there’s just no way to buy that extra time so you can do everything you want. So make sure you spend your time on doing things that really matter. Avoid time wasters!
By Kristine Manjares
Admit it or not, as a business owner or a manager, you tend to micromanage. You also prefer to do things on your own, thinking no one does it better or faster than you. Then there’s the notion that it takes more effort checking the work of employees so might as well do it yourself. If you’re that kind of person, realize that it is both inefficient and ineffective. You will soon be overburdened and find the quality of your work declining. You will see tasks fall through the cracks as more work keeps piling up. Before you find yourself in this situation, stop and consider your options. Obviously, you cannot continue spreading yourself too thin. Time to check your daily schedule.
Delegating some of your work is necessary if you want to overcome your limitations and become more successful.
Delegation entails careful planning, and not just merely passing on work to others. First thing you have to do is prioritize. Determine which tasks can be handled by other people and which ones should be done by you. Consider the skills and capabilities of each of your employees so you can assign the work to the right person. You can also consider outsourcing the non-core tasks that take up too much time so you and your team can focus on core business processes instead of spending time on administrative tasks.
With proper delegation, you will improve not just your own productivity but the output and morale of your employees.
Delegation as a tool to increase productivity
Going back to the issue of time being limited, your best bet to getting more things done is to delegate tasks. Other business owners would resort to hiring more people. However, it is pointless to have more people if you refuse to let go of the menial tasks that are eating up your valuable time and burning up your energy.
Delegation can be more effectively implemented after prioritising tasks. A common tool for time management, The Eisenhower Matrix, can help you with prioritization.
Also referred to as Urgent-Important Matrix, this is an effective tool for visualizing things to be done. Tasks are placed in boxes or quadrants labelled one to four, each with a specific action point:
- Box 1: Do (Urgent and Important)
- Box 2: Decide (Important But Not Urgent)
- Box 3: Delegate (Not Important But Urgent)
- Box 4: Delete (Not Important and Not Urgent or Time Wasters)
After prioritization, use the guidelines below to start delegating tasks:
- Identify the processes involved in your business operations, down to the specific tasks, and determine which ones to delegate. Be careful not to delegate core tasks or those that you should be doing as a business owner.
- Set clear guidance, objectives, and expectations for completing assigned tasks. Identify success indicators.
- Match the tasks with each person’s skill set to minimize the learning curve and accelerate efficiency. There is something positive about a person doing tasks that are aligned with his strengths and capabilities. It usually results in boosting employee confidence.
- Ask how your employees feel about taking on the tasks. Are they excited? Do they feel open to the challenge? Any fears or concerns must be addressed before you proceed.
- Establish clear lines of communication. Ensure everyone is aligned with the status of deliverables and aware of the challenges that need to be addressed.
- Start small. If you’re used to doing things yourself, you might have a hard time letting go. Start delegating small tasks until you get comfortable. Unless really necessary, do not be tempted to take back the tasks that you have delegated.
- Trust your employees and let go. Difficulty in letting go is one main reason why business owners refuse to delegate. As you constantly worry if the tasks are being done right, you accomplish nothing but waste more time. Just learn to let go. As long as you have provided them with the proper information and tools needed, your employees should be able to deliver the desired results. Sure, there will be mistakes but in time, people will become more proficient with the tasks the way you do. Trusting your employees would also improve their engagement and allow them to care more about your business enough to deliver more, it’s as if you suddenly gained more allies rooting for your success.
- Empower your employees to make decisions. Allow them to develop their skills and knowledge, to stretch beyond their comfort zone and to grow by giving them the ability to make decisions instead of having to check with you everytime they get stuck. Of course, you need to clarify the scope of decision-making your employees can be responsible for and those that have to be run by you at the onset of delegating the tasks.
Delegation – a necessary skill for business owners and managers
While it may be easy to just hand off the burdensome tasks to others and have the fun part to yourself, that’s not the proper way to do it. You need to find the proper balance.
Delegation, if properly executed, allows you to accomplish more in less time, develops your employees to perform tasks they would otherwise not have the chance to do, and more importantly, frees up your time so you can focus on tasks that only you can do, and those that will bring you closer to your business goals (Think Box 2 of The Eisenhower Matrix). To do more than what you are capable of, let go and delegate.
If you want to grow your business to the next level, you need to empower, engage, and involve your employees. If you want to see amazing results, learn to master the art of delegation.