I work with a lot of small business owners whose ultimate goal is to work less and make more money. These same business owners are also involved in a lot of the day to day operations of the business. How can someone work less when they are so involved? The answer is easy…delegation!
Delegation is defined by Merriam-Webster as the act of empowering to act for another. Empowering is a key component of delegation. With proper training and processes in place, owners are empowering their employees to do their job well so that they can step away. Once work is delegated to competent employees, the owner needs to keep in mind the goal of working less and let them do their job.
As a mother of two boys, I am finding it hard to let go, let them be independent and to let them make mistakes. As I am teaching them life skills I must keep reminding myself that just because they are not doing it the way I would (loading the dishwasher, putting clothes away, etc.), they are still getting the job done. If I get frustrated and begin doing these things myself again, they are never going to learn. Over time they do get better. As you are delegating things, you must keep this in mind. If you correct their mistakes without them knowing or continue to do their job for them out of frustration you are in no better shape than you were before you delegated. The next time an employee comes to you with a question on how to do the job you delegated to them, ask them first what they think the solution is. They will be amazed to know that they can solve the issue themselves. This will empower them.
Letting go of the day to day operations while still being held accountable for the outcome is difficult for most business owners to do. Be sure to schedule times to touch base with your employees. This is just a chance to check in and see how things are going. Having these scheduled times will help to avoid the desire to micromanage. My experience is that people micromanage when they are not confident that something is being done properly. If you have the right people for the job and provide them with proper training and they perform well, there is no reason to not feel confident. If your confidence level does decrease, be sure to meet with your employees to determine the root cause of the issue and provide feedback. Do not take back the task!
When delegating tasks make sure that you are consistent. Avoid delegating when you are overloaded or when a task is unpleasant. By doing this you are not empowering your employees, you are only making them a cog in the wheel. This causes frustration on all sides.
As a business owner you should look at your daily tasks and determine what things can be delegated and begin the process of letting it go now! This will allow more time to do more important things, like determining where you would like to go for your next get away!