I started Iron Age Office (IAO), just over a year ago and I am not afraid to say that from time to time I have been my own worst enemy. When you care about something so much it’s hard to remove yourself from ‘working in’ to ‘working on’ the business. Meaning, to be ‘working in’ the business you are still handling the day to day tasks such as sales and marketing, which is great at first because with any startup you have to get your hands dirty in order to initially grow, however, there has to be a time when you draw the line and start delegating jobs. This free’s you up to perform at your highest and best use and demonstrates that you have faith in your employees to do their job without having to micromanage.
The word ‘delegate’ used to send chills down my spine. In the early stages of IAO, I struggled to delegate and hand over tasks that I could have easily done my self.
Below is taken from MindTools.com, it really helped me in regards to when and how to delegate. Hopefully it can do the same for you.
How to Delegate
A positive outcome can depend on how you actually hand over the task. You want to keep morale high and ensure that your team readily accepts assignments from you, that work is completed to expectations, and that you have more time for your own work. Effective delegation requires crystal clear communication so that people know precisely what is expected of them. It also requires letting go.
Here are some key things to consider:
Clarify your expectations – Tell the person to whom you are delegating what you need accomplished and why it’s important. When he or she knows the desired results, it’s much easier to see the “big picture” and work accordingly. If possible, connect the task to organizational goals.
Establish checkpoints – Plan how you’re going to ensure the work is being completed according to plan by establishing checkpoints at the end of project stages. This doesn’t mean asking, “How’s it going?” every hour – that would be oppressive. Manage the risk of mistakes occurring by being proactive and staying in the loop at key points within the project.
Delegate the results, not the process – Focus on the end result and, unless the person to whom you’re delegating is inexperienced, allow him or her to determine how best to achieve it. If you dictate exactly what to do, when to do it, and how to do it, you limit the learning potential, and you risk not taking proper advantage of the person’s experience.
Define your role – Explain how much support you’ll provide. Let the person know whether to wait for your instructions or make independent recommendations and decisions. Often, the more authority you give, the better the end result will be – however, use your discretion, depending on the task and the individual. Make sure the person understands whether independent initiative is mandatory.
Talk about consequences – If you allow people to have authority over their work, inform them of the consequences of both successful and unsuccessful results. What rewards can they expect if they do a great job? What will happen if they don’t achieve the expected results?