You know how it is when you’re a business owner; so many things to do, so little time. As an owner, your focus is to build your business, but in building your business, there are so many things to be done. If you focus on doing the tasks yourself, in typical entrepreneurial style, then you run the risk of losing the momentum on business development activities.
The only solution to this ongoing dilemma is to begin delegating tasks and responsibilities so that you can invest your time where it should be - on running your business. Here are three steps that I recommend in delegating tasks and responsibilities to your employees:
1) Identify tasks and responsibilities
Although you are ultimately responsible for the work your company produces, it doesn’t mean that you are the only person who can or should complete the task and be accountable for completing the tasks to standards you’ve set. Identifying the difference between a task and a responsibility is critical in correctly delegating these to your staff.
A task is a work project with a clear start and end that requires a defined skill set and is often part of an employee’s job duties, while a responsibility is the overall state of being responsible, accountable, or answerable for a task or complete service.
What is a employee’s job responsibilities? Do any of your items belong on a specific employee’s responsibility list, or are these new responsibilities? Consider who should be accountable for these new responsibilities and if there are tasks, consider what skills are required and who has those skills. Who should be responsible for delegating, managing, and being accountable for getting the tasks completed?
As business owners, we all have items on our list that we would like to give to our staff, but before you do, you’ll need to consider whether or not certain employees can do these tasks or be responsible for them. Can these employees be responsible and accountable for getting these tasks completed to your satisfaction?
I spoke about processes in my previous blog, and the importance of having these processes in place before you determine the possible gaps in your business, should you choose to take some of the work off your own plate. These processes will help determine which tasks will become part of your employees’ additional workload.
2) Give employees the tools to succeed
Make sure those that have been tasked jobs have the skills and training to complete those tasks and those given the responsibility to delegate the tasks understand that they are not only responsible for the task’s completion, but also the quality of the work and client timelines. Consider having your manager or supervisor create a step-by-step instruction guide for all task completion and implementation. This will ensure consistent standards of quality.
Having your processes in place, having a description of each specific responsibility in every department, including HR, operations, finance, sales, and marketing will help every employee know what will be expected of them. This will facilitate a better understanding of what associated tasks and responsibilities need to be completed.
However, you can’t simply hand out a new task to an employee without giving them the proper tools to complete it. In addition to outlining each department, it’s important to teach employees how to go about completing the necessary tasks, so that they will feel both confident and capable handling any new tasks that come their way.
3) Make sure that delegation is clear
Communication is key to a successful work environment, which is why it’s essential for everyone in your business to be aware of who’s taking over what task, and when those changes in tasks or overall responsibilities will take place.
It can be helpful for other employees in your business to be aware of these changes as it will help them understand what needs to be done, and what additional tasks need to be managed. Business owners that I’ve worked with have relayed that open communication surrounding the delegation of new tasks offers a smoother process overall, as well as continued success and morale among employees.
As a business owner, it can be challenging to leave aspects of your workload in the hands of others. However, burnout is always a potential hazard for hard-working business owners. Therefore, try to allow your employees to share in completing some of the important tasks and the responsibility to ensure that they follow through.
Following your processes and delegating tasks and responsibilities to employees doesn’t just help your business overall - it empowers your employees to take charge of their roles, rise to new challenges, and demonstrate their potential for stepping into more prominent roles in your business.
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