Strong leadership requires a good understanding of your team and its strengths and weaknesses. The best leaders in the world are exceptional delegators. They know how to use this strength to inspire, motivate and build their employees—getting tasks completed on time and improving productivity through the use of effective delegation.
It can be a hard transition if you are new to leadership. Maybe you are used to being the one that has tasks delegated to you. However, if you run your own company or have been promoted to a leadership role, you need to understand this powerful technique as quickly as possible!
As a leader, you should be more essential and less involved. This can be a hard switch if you are used to rolling up your sleeves and working late into the night on a variety of tasks. Maybe you were the one in the office that helped his colleagues complete their work. Leadership is different. You need to let go and get busy on new essential tasks.
It doesn’t take long to establish what your team members strengths and weaknesses are. If you have worked within that team before being promoted, then you have a head start. If you’ve recently hired a team and you are getting to know everyone - you’ll need to catch up. Perhaps heading out on some team bonding trips will help you highlight some strengths. Or you could sit down with your team and talk to them. Ask them to list in order their strongest to weakest points. Kick start every week with a meeting to find out how your staff feel and get them talking to you. It won’t take long to learn who you can rely on for specific jobs.
When you start delegating tasks, you need your team to understand why you are coming to them. Let them know how important the job is, what is unique about it and how it will help them move forward. Tell them you are confident in them. Motivate them to care about this task. The more they care, the harder they will work. It’s essential to focus on the benefit they will get as much as the benefit to the business. This might include a bonus or even help them with a promotion. Be clear and concise about your reason for choosing them to complete the task.
Once you have delegated a task, don’t just step back and leave them to it. You need to balance being too involved with a lack of accountability. If you are too involved, you will demotivate the person you have delegated too. They will feel like you are continually looking over their shoulder and will start to feel uninspired. They may also lose confidence in their abilities. This is counterproductive. If you aren’t involved enough, then they may have misunderstood an element of the task and could move in the wrong direction. This isn't good for you and them. They could be left feeling frustrated, especially if they think your direction was misleading. Communicate clearly at the start, be open for questions, check-in and stay involved, but inspire.
When work comes in, you need to decide what elements draw on your talents first. Being selective isn’t about cherry-picking the best jobs. It is about understanding where your own strengths lie. You then focus on these and get working. For jobs that come in that require something different then you need to find another approach, and this is where delegation and knowledge of your team comes in. You might need to communicate this to your client. Let them know that you will be involved, but one of your team will be leading the job. Your role becomes a consultancy role. Here you will motivate and direct, but there will be a reduction in your contribution.
Delegation can also come into your working day if you work alone, running your own company. This is where outsourcing will be your new best friend. Put simply this means you look at the different jobs within your company and find another company that can do this for us. A strong example is an accountancy firm.
Spending hours working out how to file and input your invoices is time-consuming. It can lead to some business owners not sending invoices out immediately. Inadequate management of this will lead you to cash flow issues, and this will impact on your company financially. Delegating to an accountancy firm will save you time and help you focus on turnover.
It helps if you have a paperless office; this way, everything can be done remotely or online. This will save you money as having an accountant in your office is costly. You also need to have a basic understanding of what your accountant is doing and why. So make you do your research and get to grips with the basics. Also, ask your accountant to explain anything they do that you don’t understand. Ensure you know what they are doing and why they are doing it, but trust their judgement over your confusion.
Another way of delegating is by using a virtual assistant. This person will manage all of your inboxes. It’s a great way of saving you time and removing a job that could take up to a third of your working day! Imagine having 12 extra hours a week to spend on sales, marketing and increasing your turnover.
A virtual assistant will go through your emails and group, tag or highlight incoming communications. They will work with you to come up with a template for any responses they send out on your behalf. It’s very similar to having a PA, but they can’t run out and fetch you a coffee. What they can do is help lift your workload slightly and improve your time management.
If your website is getting busy, but you aren’t ready to start employing people, then it could be time to outsource an eCommerce specialist. You can work with a large company or consider supporting another small business and work with an independent eCommerce specialist.
An eCommerce specialist will provide support and build you a strategy to help develop your online performance, and this includes improving sales and turnover. They will take on the management of your website and all online activity, including your social media accounts and any online advertising. This is a useful form of delegation as they will be able to break down all the elements and tell you what is working and what isn’t. This may mean you need to make changes to your online presence. However, they will come up with a clear strategy and know-how to make these changes.
No matter how much we believe it, we are not always the best person to sell our businesses. You might find it easy to write a pitch or to manage stakeholders, and you may be brilliant and strategy, this doesn’t mean that you are strong at sales. You also might not be good at delivering a pitch, standing up in front of people to promote the company. Delegating to someone in our team or even hiring the talents of an expert speaker will help you get the results you want. No matter how much you believe you can do it all, it simply isn’t possible to be good at everything - remember the old adage: Jack of all trades, master of none. There is a risk of damaging our business and our relationships if we try and control every element ourselves.
Delegating will also relieve a lot of stress within your home environment. If you are coming back from the office and heading straight into your home office to work on the elements that your team or a specialist could have assisted with, you will be losing valuable time with your children, friends and partner. This could create significant issues within your marriage, and not only could you be damaging the business, but you could also be destroying your home life.
Taking a step back and trusting other people can be really hard. You just need to remember you aren’t handing over the reins blindly and you don’t have to step away completely. You are merely delegating a task to ensure it is completed efficiently and in the best possible way.
Everyone needs help or support, and at some point in their day, knowing when to push aside your pride will push you towards your goals quicker. Showing respect for the talents within your team will bring your people closer together; this will make your business stronger and could be the defining edge you have over your competitors.
Success doesn’t come single-handedly. It takes lots of people to bring you to your goals. SO make sure you include and acknowledge the talent and skills of others. Whether it is other experts you have outsourced or the team you have built within your company. Being a strong delegator will propel you to a better future.