Following on from my blog a couple of weeks ago about Richard Branson’s Screw It, Lets Do It book I’d like to discuss the art of delegation.
Branson has a great gift of training staff and managers and then giving them the authority to do their job without him constantly interfering. He discussed how when he is on holiday on Necker Island he does only 15 minutes of work. He has even left his top managers to negotiate a key business deal as he had one of his balloon adventures to go on and the weather suddenly became perfect for take-off. He trusted his executives to make the best decision for the business without him.
Being able to delegate is crucial in business. There is no way you can grow a business trying to do everything yourself. However, it’s easier said than done.
So, what are some key points to facilitate delegation in your business?
Clear and Regular Communication
Communication breakdowns are usually one of the key reasons for things not working out when delegating.
You need to ensure you are giving clear guidelines and instructions as to what you need. Check in regularly but don’t be overbearing. It is a fine line and will likely differ slightly between people. A reporting system may also help to ensure you are kept in the loop as needed.
Feedback is also critical. Many times, staff don’t know they could have done something better until someone has the discussion with them. Ensure you keep feedback constructive with suggestions on ways it could have been done better as opposed to pointing out what they may have done ‘wrong’. Explore solutions with the staff member directly to help them get better at problem solving.
Get to know your staff
This follows on from the above. Get to know what makes your staff tick. What are their strengths and weaknesses? Can you improve their weaknesses with some extra training/guidance? Make sure they are aware of the way your business functions and how you prefer to function.
Make sure they know your plans and priorities
Your staff must be aware of what your plans and priorities are (within reason) to be able to be productive and effective. What seems a priority to them might not be to you. It’s important you communicate these priorities effectively but also listen to their priorities as often people who are dealing with customers or suppliers see things you as a manager or CEO might not.
Pick the right people for the right jobs
You need to ensure you have the right people in the right jobs. Look at the way they work, how they interact with others, what their strengths and weaknesses are. Are you able to challenge and grow their skills and overcome weaknesses putting them in a position with some other great mentors? Can you give away some of the tasks you still do to someone who has some expertise in an area?
Be Patient and Understanding
In the long run delegating will take a lot off your plate, however initially you will find it takes more time as you answer questions, train people and get them upskilled to take on the tasks you are handing over. Stick at it and you will reap the rewards.
Give Credit Where Credit Is Due
This is a big one. Always acknowledge the work of those who you have delegated to. There’s nothing worse than someone doing all the work and then the ‘boss’ taking that work and presenting it as if it were their own. Ensure all those involved are acknowledged for their contributions.