When your company is just starting out, your success depends on you making all the large- and small-scale business decisions, from negotiating with investors and configuring the budget to answering the phones and ordering paperclips for the office. You wear these different hats because you want to ensure your business’s success, and you want your business to reflect your best efforts.
However, once your company has its footing and you begin to transition toward growth, that’s when it’s time to delegate. “When you grow, you have to know when to let go,” says business guru and bestselling author Harvey Mackay. Delegating is key to ensuring the longevity of your company; it allows your employees to improve their skills, and it allows you to focus on the big picture.
If delegating is so crucial to success, why do we avoid it?
Why are you hesitant to delegate?
There are many reasons why employers resist delegating tasks to their employees, but they all boil down to one: fear of losing control. It can be anxiety-inducing to hand important tasks over to someone else, especially when the responsibility still ultimately falls on your shoulders. But as Mackay says, “Learning to delegate often requires a detour outside your comfort zone.” Locate the root of this fear and develop a solution.
Do you not trust your employees to tackle big projects? Start by handing off small projects until you feel confident they can handle more.
Do you believe you could do the task better? “Just because an employee does things differently, doesn’t mean they won’t do the job right,” says Mackay.
Are you worried it will take too much time? When you carve out time in your schedule to explain your expectations and teach your employee effective strategies, you are granting yourself more time to do bigger things in the future.
What is the difference between good and bad delegation?
Delegating does not mean keeping the fun parts of your job for yourself and passing the grunt work off to someone else. It’s about “letting your employees stretch their skills and judgment,” says Mackay. As an employer, your job is to locate the abilities and talents of your employees and engage them through these delegated tasks. Additionally, Mackay encourages employers to embrace the challenges and mistakes that will arise. “As you hand over greater responsibility, it’s important to understand that learning new skills sometimes includes making mistakes,” he says. “Don’t punish employees who make a good-faith effort to do things right.”
How do you benefit from delegating?
Mackay thinks of a company as a ship. You, the employer, are the captain. “The captain’s place is on the bridge and not knee-deep in the bilge,” he says. “As the person steering an enterprise, you keep your head high and your vision unobstructed so you can study the big responsibilities, while maintaining authority and control.” By bestowing responsibilities on others, you are better able to do your job of steering the ship. In addition, your employees develop skills that align them for advancement within the company down the road.
PS – I delegated the writing of this blog to new Benay employee Bailey O’Brien – it was her first but it certainly won’t be her last!