Delegating In Business: The Good, The Bad, And Making It Work For You
For business owners, delegation is a tricky topic – but it’s one that has to be mastered in order for a business to flourish. In this piece, we’ll investigate all aspects of delegation; the upsides, the downsides, and how you can tailor your delegation strategy to both protect your business and allow it to flourish in future.
What is delegation?
For business owners, delegation is the process of passing responsibility for various aspects of their business operations to others – primarily members of staff. This can mean delegating individual tasks, or delegating the operations of an entire section of the business to a management team. In addition, delegation can also involve decision-making processes related to the company as it is today, or how it may grow and develop in future.
In a nutshell, delegation is the process of expanding command of a business beyond a single business owner. Instead, the way the business functions enters the remit of others, rather than all responsibility falling solely onto an individual entrepreneur.
What issues can delegation cause?
First and foremost, delegation requires a tremendous amount of trust – which can be understandably challenging for a business owner. If you have built a business up from scratch, perhaps even started your business as a solopreneur, then you will have become accustomed to trusting your instincts, decisions, and abilities. If your business has grown and expanded, the trust you have in your entrepreneurial thoughts is justified, too; your business is successful, so you must be doing something right.
Given the above, you may find that delegation seems almost impossible. You trust yourself, and the success of your business confirms that this trust is well-placed – so trusting others with crucial aspects of your business is extremely difficult. Even if you hire the best staff, delegation can still feel like a big reach for a business owner who is accustomed to going it alone.
Unfortunately, the second reason that delegation can be problematic does little to dissuade these fears. Delegation means that you, as the business owner, will be less responsible for the day-to-day activities, decisions, and tasks related to the business – which may mean that there is a greater chance of something going wrong.
You may be a dedicated, conscientious entrepreneur, who has always ensured that every aspect of your business runs like clockwork, but there’s sadly no way of guaranteeing that your employees will afford the same level of commitment to your business.
Given the risks, is delegation worth it?
The idea of experiencing problems in business due to the decisions and actions of others is undeniably troubling, but yes, delegation is worth it. The reason for this is simple: not delegating can be just as problematic as willingly delegating, albeit in different ways.
What issues can not delegating cause?
If any business owner struggles to delegate, they are essentially letting the entire business rest on their own shoulders. While this may somehow seem “safer”, for the reasons we discussed above, this safety is not necessarily assured. For example, if you take the burden of every element of your business, your ability to grow that business is immediately significantly hampered – there are only so many hours in the day for you to work on your business, so you have to be able to trust others.
How can you strike the right balance?
As we have seen, delegation is an element of business that requires a very fine balance – and there are a number of ideas that can help to achieve this balance.
The first issue to contend with is the trust issue, which is an especially pressing concern for solopreneurs. For the most part, the best way of addressing this issue is to do all you can to hire the right members of staff; people that you genuinely believe have your business’ best interests at heart. In addition, it’s also worth considering offering performance incentives; if your staff know that performing well and making the right decisions will ultimately benefit them financially, then some of the concerns of delegation can often be alleviated.
However, even with the best staff working to performance incentives, we do have to address the fact that delegation will always involve a significant amount of risk. By far the best way to address this is by introducing a more nuanced approach. Delegation does not have to mean you surrender control of all aspects of your business; it can mean that you surrender immediate control, but maintain oversight.
The way that this controlled delegation – as we’ll call it – works is simple.
The immediate decisions and choices related to all aspects of your business should be delegated; from major tasks such as deciding which delivery company to work with to choosing the metal rollers for your conveyor system, the foremost decisions should be made by members of staff. The same applies to tasks; you can delegate the management of your company’s social media or pay-per-click campaigns to others, rather than having to find the time to manage these elements of your business yourself.
However, you can assert an element of control by regularly checking all of the above. You can ask staff to keep detailed logs of every decision they have made, which you can then work through and confirm as correct at least once a month. Tasks can also be checked; you can read through your company’s social media every few days, for example.
Controlled delegation offers the best of both worlds; you remove the need to make decisions or complete tasks from your day-to-day to do list, but you also maintain the ability to verify that every aspect of your business is running as it should.
As a business owner, the need to delegate is pressing and crucial – but it’s also difficult, and liable to cause no small amount of anxiety. However, by ensuring you take extra steps to hire staff you genuinely feel you can trust, considering introducing performance incentives, and then verifying every decision and task that those members of staff make, you should be able to find a balance that works for both you and your company.
© New To HR