Delegate Effectively: The Basics
For many entrepreneurs, owning a business is all about having ultimate control. Most business owners love the idea of rolling up their sleeves, working long hours across different areas to ensure that every part of their company fits their vision.
The thought of “giving up” control to another person (especially a person working remotely) might make you feel like you’re losing a part of what makes your business yours.
Delegating tasks can be scary but if done properly, it’s the best way to nurture and scale your business without burning out.
Read on to learn how to delegate and who to delegate to.
What Delegation Is and How to Do It Effectively
Simply put, delegation is when you lighten your workload by assigning areas of responsibility to other people — trusting someone to help you accomplish more.
And delegation will look different in every business.
For large corporations, delegation involves one leader assigning goals to several managers who will each meet those goals by delegating to employees in their department. For entrepreneurs growing their businesses, delegation begins by outsourcing tasks to one or more specialists.
Delegation as a Business Strategy
Of course, successful delegation is not an accident; it’s a strategic decision that a business owner makes.
When a business is small, entrepreneurs are usually able to handle all tasks related to their business themselves.
Delegating tasks will allow you to move beyond the startup phase and scale your business. When you hire qualified individuals and add actionable, measurable goals for those individuals into your business plan, you can create a system that works without you.
When you model delegation effectively, you create an example for others around you. As your business grows even larger, you may reach a point where those working for you will need to delegate tasks of their own.
By modeling delegation, you will guide your workers to select the right workers, creating a company that adheres to your vision and grows organically.
Using delegation as a business strategy will also allow you to focus on what you love doing- and what you’re good at doing. Being honest about your passions and skill sets will allow you to use your time and energy most efficiently.
4 Signs It's Time to Start Delegating
While anyone at any phase of their business can start delegating, there are a few signs that can tell you that you should begin delegating as soon as possible.
Here are some common signs that indicate it’s time to start delegating.
Your inbox is out of control.
If the idea of ‘inbox zero’ seems as attainable to you traveling to space anytime soon, it’s probably time to start delegating.
Just thinking about all the newsletters, junk mail, and social media notifications is overwhelming and causes us all to get cold sweats. A BELAY contractor can easily sort all of it out for you in a short period of time and then keep it organized.
Your ‘To-Do’ list is taking over your life.
Are you waking up at night wallpapering your bedroom with sticky notes filled with transaction notes?
If you find yourself going to bed so late it’s crossed your mind to just stay up, it’s time to delegate. Yes, you are an expert at certain tasks and it’s tough to hand them off to someone else with any faith they’ll do the job as well as you, but you are burning the candle at both ends.
It’s only a matter of time before it burns out and you’re left with a pile of ashes and sticky notes for décor. A BELAY contractor will make sure everything reconciles and that your walls aren’t fluorescent yellow anymore.
Your business is growing fast.
If you’ve had to turn away new clients, it’s time to delegate.
When we’re overwhelmed, it’s easy to overlook things or to prioritize them incorrectly. A BELAY contractor can check off the tasks required for project completion and ensure your continued success. They can organize teams and coordinate tasks like nobody’s business, and they know which technology can save your sanity in seconds.
You can’t dream anymore.
Are you brimming with ideas for new ventures you are anxious to try out, but you never seem to get to them? It’s probably because your focus is being pulled in too many directions.
All of those tasks you put off until tomorrow only to find they’ve been waiting for your attention for six weeks could be handled by a BELAY contractor. Then you could get to that idea you had for those self-ironing pants.
Tasks You Can Delegate
Now that we’ve covered why delegation is such an important tool in a leader’s toolkit, let’s dive into how you get started.
When thinking about tasks you can delegate, consider the following questions:
- Do you like or love doing this task?
- Are you the only person who can do this task?
- How well do you do this task?
- How much time do you spend on this task?
Here are some common tasks that you can easily delegate to a BELAY contractor.
- Email Management
- Calendar Management
- Document Preparation
- Document Sorting & Organization
- Vacation Planning
- Gift Buying
- CRM Management & Updating
- Tax Preparation & Filing
- Industry Research
- Report Generation
- Meeting Planning
- Travel Planning
- Processing Payroll
- E-Commerce Support
- Expense Reporting
- Proposal & Contract Creation
- Follow-up Calls
- Doctors Appointments
- Social Media Scheduling and Commenting
- Social Media Tracking and Analysis
- Vendor Research
- Data Analysis
- Project Management Tracking & Deliverables
- Birthday Reminders
- Family Calendars
How to Start Delegating: Conduct Question and Task Audits
Smart and efficient leaders adopt the 70-percent rule. Simply put, the 70-percent rule says that if the person youʼd like to perform the task can do it at least 70 percent as well as you can, you should delegate it.
Sure, it will prove difficult to accept that the task won't be done exactly as you would do it and with the same degree of (perceived) perfection. But you know what it will be? DONE. And sometimes, thatʼs really what matters most.
And after youʼve asked yourself, ʻCan this person do this task 70 percent as well as I could?ʼ you're ready for part two.
The Harvard Business Review takes it one step further, suggesting leaders break down delegatable tasks into six divide-and-conquer categories as follows for more effective and efficient completion.
Tiny. Small, seemingly inconsequential tasks are easy to put off – but they add up. They arenʼt necessarily important or urgent, and often only take a few minutes.
Tedious. Tedious tasks – like repetitive data entry – are typically relatively simple but often not the best use of your time – and could, therefore, be handled by someone else.
Time-Consuming. Time-consuming tasks are often important and complex. As such, you could delegate 80 percent of the research and execution and then assume responsibility for the final 20 percent to give approval.
Teachable. These tasks may initially seem difficult but can be delegated once you've taught the basics. And like time-consuming tasks, you will assume responsibility by providing quality checks and final approval in the end.
Terrible At. Know your weaknesses – and delegate them. The devilʼs in the details so as HBR.com so succinctly explains, ʻ … there is someone out there who can delight in the devil of your details.ʼ Find them.
Time-Sensitive. When a time-sensitive task enters the mix, competing with other priorities, there often isnʼt enough time to do them all at once. Delegate time-sensitive tasks so you can focus on project-based deadlines.
Accomplish More by Juggling Less
When it comes to experiencing growth in your business, you have to think differently about how you run it. You can't keep doing everything on your own; you have to delegate.
In our Delegate to Elevate ebook, we provide five preparatory steps to getting your mindset right to delegate.
1. Admit you have a problem.
We covered this earlier but there will be no future success if there isn't a present admission that you need help. You want help. And that you're willing to ask for – and accept – help.
2. Accept that will take time.
It won't come naturally – why? Because naturally, you feel most comfortable being – or feeling like – you're in control.
So learning to delegate is like exercising muscles that are used to melting into a recliner. At first, it's uncomfortable. It feels weird. It hurts. Your muscles want to return to the recliner and be left alone.
But then something crazy happens.
The more you exercise those muscles, the stronger they get. Suddenly, what used to hurt now feels good, and lifting those weights gets easier, it just takes practice and consistency.
3. Be willing to teach.
The best delegators are those who are willing to invest time in proper onboarding and training.
Yes, this will require some heavy lifting on the front end but will result in incredible returns, and will prove to be one of the most profitable investments you could make for yourself and your organization.
4. Have a plan.
Successful delegation while working remotely involves a plan for task management. Without a system for tracking projects and tasks, youʼll find yourself buried in sticky notes – which are great for grocery lists, but not for business.
If you're serious about delegating remotely from home, consider a system to track tasks and projects once you have let them go – and you will let them go.
5. Shift your mindset.
Instead of thinking you have to do it all, look to delegation as an opportunity to empower others on your team to grow, even when working remotely.
Lean into your team to discover ways you can improve. Be open to suggestions and receptive to feedback. Be coachable and teachable. Delegation requires discipline, consistency and patience.
Recognizing that these patterns don't shift overnight is imperative to your success as a leader.
Delegation Worksheet & Guide
What if you could delegate just five tasks to save yourself 15 hours every week? Sounds counterintuitive, but the less you do, the more you can accomplish.
Getting started with delegation is the easiest thing you’ll do today. Learn how with this worksheet and guide.
And as the best next step in delegation, join us on September 14 from 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. CT for our next webinar, Increasing Your Leadership Capacity: Strategies for Meeting Effectiveness and Delegation.
Whether you're a seasoned executive, an aspiring manager, or simply hungry to enhance your leadership skills, this webinar is for you. Don’t miss out on this opportunity to skyrocket your productivity and banish overwhelm for good.