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Delegating with ease

How to take the pressure off and let others handle the heavy stuff

We get it. You’re a hands-on personality whose personal philosophy is, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” While this stance may be right in many situations, it’s not always feasible.

The sheer amount of multitasking it would take to run a growing business singlehandedly makes it near impossible. There’s simply no way to personally oversee every aspect of running a business. It would also be detrimental to your mental health to take on so many duties at once.

The desire to be everything to your company could eventually backfire, and you could wind up losing everything you worked so hard to build.

Trust your team

This may seem like a no-brainer, but you have to trust the people you employ. Would you really want to hand off your baby to just anybody? Of course not.

Understandably, this type of trust goes both ways. When you show your staff that you believe in their ability to keep things running smoothly, you show them they are valued. In this way, they trust that you see their efforts and judge accordingly.

Employees who feel valued have a personal stake in ensuring they get the job done right. They also understand how difficult it is to find a job with a positive, healthy work environment and culture. For this reason, they’ll work hard to retain employment at your business.

You hired them, so you know their credentials and abilities, which leads us to the first bit of advice for effective delegation.

Hire the best

It can be tempting to hire any person off the street, especially if you’re in a staff shortage crunch and need someone right away. Still, it pays to do your due diligence and thoroughly investigate a potential hire. Do a background check, and call references. Above all, go with your gut. A new hire will want to impress you—pay attention and peer through the hard sell to hear what they’re really saying.

Train your managers well

Some business owners shoot themselves in the foot by refusing to give the people they’ve placed in management positions access to important files, documents and logins. They often do this in order to maintain control over the department; however, this instinct is counterproductive. Let go of the reins and give your managers the tools they need to run things effectively. If you train them well, then it’s a lot easier to trust them to take care of things the way you want them to be taken care of.

Foster an open office culture

Employees work best when they can cultivate a healthy work-life balance. Think about it: How can a team member keep their eye on the ball if they’re overworked, stressed or feeling underappreciated? By enacting an open-door policy and fostering communication, you can keep your team engaged and reinforce how much you value them, which means they will perform at their best.

Know your team’s strengths and weaknesses

Everyone on your staff has a specific talent, or they wouldn’t be part of your team. When delegating tasks, scroll through your mental Rolodex and see who would be best suited for the job. Have a subject matter expert write a blog article that will help your customers. Allow a brilliant communicator to lead weekly team meetings to keep staff motivated. By finding the best person for each job, you can rest assured that things are well under control.

A few things to consider

The foundation of being able to delegate is built by your team. Realize that you have to balance being there to help when needed but also being able to step back to allow your team to strategize among themselves as well.

Other things to bear in mind

Mistakes will happen

Even with the best of intentions, things go awry. Don’t rush in at the first sign of trouble and assume you have to take over right away. If you trust the team to lead, trust them to handle arising issues, too.

Be clear in your directives

Your staff can’t complete their projects if they don’t know where to begin. Give clear expectations and deadlines so your team can repeatedly deliver the results you want.

Prepare status meetings

Have stand-up meetings twice a week to ensure your employees are on top of things. During these sessions, you can monitor projects, see where your team has progressed and address any needs or concerns.

Praise your team’s diligence

Never forget to give credit where credit is due. If your staff has performed beyond expectations, tell them. While you’re at it, toss in a reward, like an outing to a high-profile restaurant, a small bonus or an extra vacation day.

Here’s the long and short: Hiring the best of the best and letting go of the reins allows you to delegate with confidence. Also, when you implement effective delegation, you’ll finally be able to leave work at the office and live the life you genuinely want.

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