To Delegate or Dump?

To delegate or dump, that is the question.

Do you delegate or dump? What I mean is, are you a delegator or do you just dump things on your employees desks and expect them to know what to do next?

CEO’s and business owners with companies of fewer than 34 employees need to find a way to effectively let go of doing it all. At some point you will need to find a way to delegate those parts of your business that really belong to someone else or are part of someone else’s job. When you get to 20 employees, start thinking about who you can asked to take on certain tasks that became part of your day/day duties because you started the company.

Ron Price the co-author of The Complete Leader believes that no one can give us more time, the only way we as leaders can maximize what we have, is by becoming effective at delegating. Ron goes on to state that there is a big difference between delegating and dumping. Dumping tasks on someone says,’I’m stressed; I don’t want to take care of this. I’m just going to hand it to you and forget about it.’ This isn’t a very collaborative way to get things done, and it doesn’t invite engagement, trust or high quality work. By contrast, delegation says, ‘I believe that us working together as a team, you can do a better job of spearheading this task than I can, so I’m asking you to be a part of my team for this particular project. I believe that we can get a better result together.'”

Try this four step approach to delegation

Articulate Your Vision: Your employees need to understand the bigger picture of the business. They want to know how their role fits into the overall strategy of the organization. How does their contribution make a difference? Help them understand why you started the business, where is it headed the next year or two? How can they help you meet those goals? Talk about your vision for the company every chance you get. During your weekly one-on-one’s with your leadership team, explain the vision and let them interject how they think their role will help the company get there.

Create A Roadmap: You can’t get there without a map of some kind. What positions do you have in the company already, what other positions do you need to reach the target vision? Don’t assume employees understand their roles and responsibilities just because you pay them and they have experience. Employees aren’t mind readers, you have to tell them what their job is, what your expectations are, how doing their job impacts the company and what the consequences are if they DON’T do their job. 

Follow up: Following up helps people accept accountability. Don’t try to delegate without following up. Once employees understand their roles and responsibilities for specific task, delegation becomes easier. Remember, bad managers micromanage. Exceptional managers delegate effectively.

Don’t be afraid of difficult conversations: Delegation is a skill that (may) require a difficult conversation or two. To be effective, you need to react to missed deadlines or other deviations from expectations immediately. It’s not a conversation about right or wrong, it’s about expectations not being met. Address your concern immediately. No time like the present!

A successful leader knows the value of delegation. Most have a clear vision, they know what needs to be done, they hire the right people and manage to the outcome driven by their vision. At some point leaders will need to delegate. After all what got them where they are won’t keep them there if they continue to try to do every body’s job in the company. It’s the art of effectively letting go.