If you want something done right do it yourself. Or so they say. Still, there's a reason why Fortune 500 company founders like Jeff Bezoz of Amazon have hundreds of thousands of staff. They delegate. Delegation is key to successfully managing a business without succumbing to total burnout. So how do you delegate?
It’s not just successful businessmen - head chefs have sous chefs, rally car drivers have navigators, captains have first mates, and in the movies, even the bad guys have minions. They all understand the power of delegating.
So what's so good about delegating?
Delegating to others takes the pressure off
This is obvious. Outsourcing work doesn't absolve you of responsibility, but it frees you up to do the tasks only you know how to do. Patrick Tam, financial planner who blogs at The Constant Analyst, comments: “Failing to delegate is failing to make the best use of your time.” Delegating tasks allows you to create a more controlled environment rather than tearing your hair out trying to magically produce more minutes per hour.
Delegating empowers others
When you trust an employee with a new task, this builds a sense of empowerment and contributes to a healthy workplace culture wherein your staff feel valued and involved. It also helps to build more skilled, more flexible employees. How? Tam explains, “The right kind of delegation also keeps each member of your team performing up to the limit of their current skill level.”
He adds, “They have tasks that are challenging, helping them develop in different ways, yet not so difficult that they experience frequent failure or undue frustration.”
Delegating increases your credibility
Delegation can help increase your credibility as a leader. According to the Leadership Skills Training program of NC State University; “By allowing your teammates new ways to show their responsibility, you get their respect and loyalty.” Rather than being too scared to let go of certain tasks out of fear of losing control, delegation shows that you are sufficiently in charge, without fear of being undermined.
However, there is a hidden danger. Eric P. Bloom (author of Productivity Driven Success: Hidden Secrets of Organizational Efficiency) says to be careful with what you choose to delegate. “Don't dump unwanted activities onto your staff to get them off your plate,” he advises. “Your team will eventually figure this out, and it will hurt your credibility as their manager.”
Delegation via outsourcing can enhance returns
The benefits for outsourcing are obvious when it comes to large-scale productions, or dedicated projects.
“Outsourcing to someone who specialises in delivery of that part of your process, and therefore has up-to-date systems, technology and staff, can improve the quality of that service by reducing costs, improving final output quality or freeing up your internal staff for other roles they could be performing,” writes Bruce Davidson for CityWire.
“When outsourcing works well, quality is often higher than could be delivered by the existing business and/or the costs of delivery are reduced.”
Business process outsourcing company Infinit-O says outsourcing can give business a boost, explaining, “It can add layers of expertise to a business and give birth to innovations and strategies that wouldn’t have come about when certain processes are done in-house.”
Delegation is a useful tool that goes beyond sending your intern on the morning coffee and croissant run. So tomorrow afternoon when the 3pm coffee slump is kicking in and your task list keeps scrolling past the bottom of your screen, take a step back and ask yourself, “What can I delegate today?”