Delegate with Mastery: 5 Steps to Business Freedom
I recently came across an astonishing statistic in the “2018 Small Business Profile” by the U.S. Small Business Administration.
There are 30.2 million small businesses in the USA and 24.3 million don’t have a single employee!
When I read this statistic, I had two reactions almost simultaneously. Firstly, what enormous potential! Imagine the impact these sole proprietors could make with a bigger vision, a team and the right resources. On the other hand, I immediately wondered why do so many play small?
Do solopreneurs view their business as a job or an investment?
Before I go any further, I want to acknowledge the sheer amount of courage and effort it takes to get a new business off the ground! I appreciate and honor the contribution small business owners make to their customers and our economy every single day.
I also understand how painful it can be to let go of the reigns and allow your "baby" to grow up. I would also argue there's only so long you can deliver your product or service AND be the marketing expert, the systems expert, the finance expert...and the list goes on!
What’s one of the best things you can do now that your business is off the ground? Get support. Get in the mindset and habit of delegating.
Allow others to take the weight off your shoulders so you can focus on the work that really matters - the money making activities and delivering a profitable promise to your customers and clients.
I want to share with you some simple steps to delegate effectively so that you feel confident in your decision to bring team members on board and increase your impact. But first, let’s clear up what it actually means to delegate!
Most entrepreneurs think delegating is simply assigning tasks to other people, but this approach often ends in frustration. Proper instructions aren't given, people aren't empowered or supported and what happens?
They interrupt you and distract you with lots of questions! They come to you for the solutions instead of solving problems themselves.
Real delegation is giving someone complete ownership over a result, guidance to support them, and the authority to do what is necessary to get that result.
Yes, this involves a deeper, more thoughtful approach. However, it is indisputable that those who adopt it see dramatic benefits.
So what are these game changing steps?
STEP 1: DECIDE
First, decide the specific result you’re working towards. Define why you’d like to achieve this goal and how you might take on the task if you were to do it yourself. People aren't mind readers!
Next, select the right team member for the task:
Who's strengths and skills are best suited for the project?
Do they have enough time to take on the work?
Will they enjoy learning and developing their skills with this project?
The best work comes out of an aligned relationship between vision, purpose, and person.
STEP 2: COMMUNICATE
Communication is key. Have a face to face conversation. Clearly describe the task, the desired result and explain who is being served by the work (a client, other team members, internal operations, etc). What is the result of a job well done or poorly done?
Let this person know why you’re confident they’ll do the job well. What potential do you see in them? Great leaders communicate trust and belief in their people and understand that this is the ultimate motivator.
STEP 3: SUPPORT
Now you can equip your team with the tools they need to get the job done. Set a deadline and the main driver behind it. If it's a larger project, break it down into smaller tasks with deadlines for each. Get the agreed deadlines in writing on a calendar or a project management system.
Is there training required? Make sure to plan time for that as well. Recommend tools or resources that will aid them during the process.
STEP 4: EMPOWER
It’s vital to empower your team to make decisions throughout the process instead of them expecting you to have all the answers. Before you let them take the reigns, consider a few questions first:
Have you clearly communicated your expectations in regards to the promise your business makes to its customers?
What boundaries do you need to set around decision making?
Do you anticipate any challenges you can discuss ahead of time?
Once you’re clear on the answers, discuss the decisions or actions your team has the authority to take. Keep in mind that you’re ultimately responsible for your team’s success.
It’s also very important to monitor their work and follow up. The great news is you can hold them accountable on YOUR terms.
For example, do you prefer frequent e-mail check-ins or would you rather review their work halfway through? If they really do get stuck, how should they let you know? Communicate and calendar your feedback plan. Always anticipate the need for some coaching and encouragement along the way.
STEP 5: CELEBRATE
The hard work has paid off and it’s time to solidify, implement and celebrate all that was learned. Begin to debrief the process together. Take the time to discuss what was learned, what went right and wrong, and what could be improved upon next time.
Your team member will most likely have developed their own ideas on how to improve their work, which is exactly what you want!
Give praise and show appreciation! Thanking them in person will help you create a supportive uplifting work culture. You’ll be amazed at how open and honest your team will become and how willing they’ll be to support you in making your vision a reality.
Now you know the exact steps and actions you need to take to delegate with mastery, are there any gaps that need to be filled? What’s stopping you from letting go and letting your team take the weight off your shoulders?
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!