By Perminus Wainaina
Does delegation work?
What should you delegate and what should you do yourself?
A few days ago, I met with Stephen, a longtime friend of mine. Today, he runs a thriving logistics company.
Stephen started the company three years ago, he was doing everything back then. Today, he has 15 employees and the company is still picking up momentum.
However, Stephen admitted he was struggling with delegation. As much as he has a team of qualified personnel, he still finds himself doing most of the work –as he has always done it since he began.
Stephen wanted to know what tasks he should delegate to his employees, and how to delegate the tasks.
After thinking about it, I would like to share input on how I started delegating, and how you too can learn to delegate.
Does delegation work? Is it important?
Before looking at how to delegate, let’s first tackle the big question. Why should you delegate?
As the leader of the company, your time is stretched between several responsibilities. If you try to do everything on your own, you’ll not only be inefficient, but you’ll likely lag behind on various deadlines.
Since time is an invaluable resource, you should ensure you have as much of it to take care of the most urgent and fundamental responsibilities.
One of the ways to free up your time is through delegation.
What should you delegate?
It goes without saying that you shouldn’t delegate everything. You have to prioritize on what needs to be delegated, and what you need to take care of yourself.
Here are the 3 factors I consider before deciding to delegate responsibilities to the employees;
1. What are you not good at?
As the leader of a company, you’ve seen the company grow from one level to the next. As such, you’re likely good at different facets of the company.
However, there could be a few things you’re not good at.
These are some of the responsibilities you should delegate.
When hiring, your objective is to bring on board the most qualified and competent employees. Now that the employees are there, you should let the handle the responsibilities.
For example, if you’re not good at marketing, you should not struggle with it yet you have a team of marketers.
If their tasks you’re not good at –and you have an employee who is good at the task, then you should delegate.
This will not only free time for you, but it’ll also ensure success in the other tasks as they’re being handled by a professional.
2. What is already functioning well?
It takes time, effort and patience to bring up sustainable systems that function efficiently.
Once you’ve created the seamless processes, however, there is no need for you should still dwell on the same.
As part of the senior leadership, your job mainly entails looking at the bigger picture, as opposed to the day to day running of every process.
For instance, if you’ve figured out a sales procedure that works efficiently, you should be the one handling the process. Instead, delegate it to another professional and allow them to run with.
This will help you focus on the systems and processes that are struggling or that still need support.
3. What do you want your team to grow in?
“Tell me and I’ll forget, teach me and I’ll remember, involve me and I will learn.” Benjamin Franklin
This is a popular saying that has helped me decide on what I should delegate.
If you just tell your employees on what they should do, when the time comes and they have to do it, they’ll likely have forgotten.
However, if you involve your employees in the various processes, they will get to learn. Moreover, they’ll be more comfortable running these tasks moving forward.
What skills do you want to grow in your company? Is it communication? Instead of stopping what you’re doing to handle communication needs, you should train the team and watch them excel.
In addition, employees often stay at an organization when they feel they’re involved in the processes of the company. They also become more invested when they can see their work bear fruits.
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At the end of the day, you’ll realize delegation is more than just freeing up your time. It is also about growing your company, advancing the careers of your employees, and breeding a culture of commitment and ownership within the organization.
Next week, I’d like to look at the most effective way to delegate tasks and responsibilities. Share your thoughts and input with me before then.
Perminus Wainaina is an experienced HR Practioner with over 15 years experience in executive recruitment and selection, training, performance management, and Kenyan labour laws.
He has consulted for firms such as Safaricom Sacco, Oxfam, Un Women, Pacis Insurance, Windsor Golf, Muthaiga Country Club, etc. Currently, he represents the private sector at KEBS in the HR standardization committee.