It should be common sense that business owners who practice good delegation skills and avoid micromanagement have significant positive impact on their employees’ ability to perform effectively. Micromanagers lower employee morale and productivity and increase turnover. This all shows up in the bottom line: A 2014 Gallup study found that CEOs with high delegator talent posted an average three-year growth rate of 1,751% - that’s 112 percentage points greater than CEOs with limited delegator talent. High delegator talent CEOs also generated 33% greater revenue than their low delegating counterparts. As always, employee satisfaction and engagement directly affect your business’s success.
However, even if it is common sense, it’s not always obvious what to do when you’re in the middle of the forest. Here are some strategies to be a better delegator.
Hire the right people in the first place and train, train, train. Set goals and expectations from the beginning and make clear how progress will be measured. This might be one of only a couple situations where it can be OK to be a micromanager (the other might be performance improvement). Once you have the people trained and pointed in the right direction, you’ll have the confidence to delegate.
Delegate the right things. What tasks do you perform that could be better handled by someone else? What would enable an employee to further develop skills or make career progress? What tasks are routine and day-to-day that, if delegated, would allow you to focus on strategy and planning for growing your business?
Delegate to the strengths of your workforce and the personal and professional goals your employees have. As a good leader, you will be very familiar with every employee’s career aspirations and development needs. By assigning work that plays to their strengths and interests, you will be increasing engagement and productivity.
Tie projects and assignments to the company’s goals. Set the context, project goals and clear outcomes and expectations. All work delegated should be accompanied by a definition of what is to be completed, by when, and what are the success metrics you will use.
Make sure you provide the resources, training, and authority, but resist micromanaging the step-by-step process. Provide help by addressing any gaps in employee skill sets, and focus on the end goal, making sure they know it’s ok to ask questions or seek support through an open communication path.
Communicate who is working on what throughout the organization and set a standard for mutual support among those whose projects depend on others to provide information or assistance. Perpetuate an atmosphere of teamwork.
Provide ‘check-ins’ to make sure employees have everything they need to get the job done but do this periodically – not daily. You have already established a communication channel for them to ask for what they need.
Provide feedback, including constructive comments, once a goal is achieved, and ask for feedback on your clarity in the delegation and what you can do better in the future.
Finally, celebrate accomplishments as widely as possible and give credit to everyone involved. Consider a ‘lessons learned’ session to further refine all aspects of the process.
To talk more about any aspect of your business, contact Tip of the Mitt SCORE to set up a free and confidential appointment with a team of business mentors. As always, we are here ‘for the life of your business.’