DelegationEffective delegation may be impossible since many managers and entrepreneurs have limited staff, if any. In that case you might consider outsourcing the more repetitive and time-consuming tasks.
Delegation ranges from minor assignments such as sorting through some clutter to major decision-making that impacts the success of a project or the reputation of your business. In either case, delegation is the process of sharing your job with others and holding those individ¬uals responsible for the successful completion of the tasks assigned.
You cannot hold anyone responsible for carrying out an assignment without also delegating the amount of authority needed to carry out the responsibility assigned. You cannot hold a person responsible for improving the appearance of a newsletter, for instance, without the auth¬ority to choose the typestyle, choose the colors and revise the layout. Nor can you assign the responsibility of organ¬izing a luncheon without the authority to choose a menu and arrange the seating plan.
The more authority a staff member is given, the less invol¬vement is required on your part, and the greater the burden that is lifted from your shoulders. But the more authority a staff member has, the greater the impact that person has on the success of the business. You must must have confidence in the staff in order to risk delegating.
And it is a risk, since the delegator must shoulder the blame for a job poorly done even though it may be someone else’s error. The ultimate responsibility still rests with the manager.
Yet delegation is the greatest time saver available to business people at all levels. It frees time for more important tasks, allows you to plan more effectively and helps relieve the pressure of too many jobs, too many deadlines and too little time. Delega-tion actually extends results from what you can do personally to what you can control. It is also the most effective way of developing staff members. When you are delegating, you are working smarter, not harder.
We have many reasons for not delegating. We don’t have time to train others. They can’t do it as well or as quickly as we can. We’re afraid they might goof. But in many cases these reasons are simply excuses. Sure it will take time to train people. However, every hour invested now will bring you hundreds of free hours in the future. It’s unlikely our staff members can do as good a job as we can. But how about when we first started? We weren’t always as good at our jobs as we are now. Be willing to accept less at first. As people become more experienced, the workmanship will improve. They’ll goof. Everyone makes mistakes. But that’s the price we have to pay in order to free up our time, develop our staff members, and expand our effectiveness.
What jobs should we delegate? A good starting place is to list all the jobs we do on a recurring basis, no matter how small. They all take time, even though they may not relate to a specific project. Then look for those jobs that take the biggest chunks of time. If they require little training, great. But if you must train, schedule time to do it. Perhaps a half hour each day or two hours each week. Set the time aside and stick to a regular schedule. Time you spend now will pay big dividends later, as it frees up tie for you to spend on the more profitable projects.
You won’t want to delegate critical jobs that could endanger the success of a project; nor jobs that involve confidential informaation. But there are probably many jobs that someone else could do for you.
Managers get things done through other people. A manager plans, organizes, staffs, directs, controls, innovates. But a manager does not get bogged down with jobs that someone else can do.