Don’t Be a Hoarder – Learn How to Delegate Your Workload

Far too many business owners have an intense fear of delegating tasks to employees. For a number of reasons, owners often end up taking on tasks themselves, which can eventually lead to sensory overload and exhaustion. Though it’s completely understandable why some owners may not want to trust their “babies” in the hands of their employees, it’s a fear that can be overcome. To all the business owners out there: don’t fear delegation. There are so many ways you can learn to trust your employees and make sure their missions are aligned with your own. Learn how to delegate effectively, and take back your personal time!

Overburdened

Find the Right Person

If your work load has grown to the point where you could use an extra set of hands, consider hiring an employee to pick up some tasks for you. Of course, this is easier said than done. Hiring the wrong employee can cost a business thousands of wasted dollars. The key to overcoming the fear of hiring a new employee is to balance out your dynamic.

This is especially important for small business owners who have few employees. Identify your own soft skills that could benefit from a complementary skill set. For example, if you’re more of a tech and numbers oriented person, hire someone better with sales and customer service. That way, you can delegate tasks to someone better suited for work outside of your wheelhouse.

As an entrepreneur, learning how to build a team of employees is one of the most important skills you can pursue. It may seem counterintuitive to your independent spirit, but fostering a teamwork-oriented environment directly affects your business’s ability to grow. As a business evolves out of its start-up phase, a team of skilled employees is absolutely vital to the ongoing success of the business. A 2014 study of 143 Fortune 500 companies found that CEO’s who had mastered the ability to delegate saw a three year growth rate of 1,751%, and a 33% revenue advantage over those who don’t have a talent for delegating.

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Start Out Small

Once you’ve found the right person for the job, whether it be a new hire or a promotion from within, ease yourself into the delegation process. It doesn’t have to be all at once; this will overwhelm both you and your subordinate. It could be helpful to make a list of tasks that you’re comfortable assigning now and in the future. You may be surprised to find out just how much of the burden you can alleviate.

From simple duties like responding to e-mails, managing payments, and booking appointments, to more complex responsibilities like web design or marketing, anything you don’t want to do or aren’t skilled to do can be delegated. After you’ve established a list, it will be much easier to assign a few responsibilities at first and scale them up as time goes on.

Provide Mentorship and Follow-Ups

One-on-one training will help your employee understand what you and your company are all about. Showing your employees where their jobs fit within the workplace gives them an idea of the big picture and how they can participate. If you’re able to, personally train your employees so they get a sense of how you prefer your tasks to be accomplished.

An employee given clearly defined goals right from the source will be much more efficient at his or her job. It sounds like training should be common sense, but it’s actually shocking how many employees aren’t adequately trained for a new position. Even just one week of on-the-job training can lead to a substantial improvement in performance and prevent headaches in the future. Trust me, it’s worth the time investment.

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Once your employee has settled in nicely, allot some time to follow up with them on a regular basis. Are the responsibilities you’ve given them handled to your standards? Is your employee meeting the goals you both set out to achieve? Keeping lines of communication open and having occasional meetings will make both of you feel more comfortable in evaluating progress.

Business owners new to delegation may struggle with stepping back and avoiding micro-managing. This is completely natural. After all, you want to make sure your projects are being completed correctly, right? It may take a little extra effort on your part, but a healthy balance can be achieved by offering casual meetings and two-way conversations about a project. Also keep in mind that one of the biggest motivators in the workplace is praise. If your employee is doing a great job, make sure you let him or her know! If something needs to be approached differently, make sure to praise him or her for what’s done right, and then come up with a solution to the issue together.

If your business has grown to the point of needing more employees, you can officially call yourself a successful entrepreneur. The next step is to nurture your business through its growth spurt by giving it what it needs. If you can master the art of delegation, you can look forward to a prosperous future together.

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Jessica Johnson

Jess has been writing (and sometimes illustrating) stories since childhood. She has a background in Creative Writing and Art History, and is always looking for new ways to learn and grow as a writer. She enjoys writing fiction, creative non-fiction, and poetry.

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