How to Decide What to Delegate — and Then Do It Efficiently

When you’re growing your business, there comes a point when you can’t do it all. And, in fact, attempting to do so can actually hurt your progress. That’s because when you’re mired in the minutiae, you lack the time and energy to look at the big picture and focus on things like developing strategies, hiring key employees, and making a plan for growth. Delegating tasks is the obvious next step, but unfortunately what’s not obvious is when and what you should assign to others. Before you start delegating duties, here are some questions to ask yourself.

Which tasks can I do without?

There are some essential duties that eat up a big chunk of your day, but in completing them you’re not doing anything to move your business forward. These are often administrative tasks that you can train one of your employees to do. But rote administrative work isn’t the only thing you can delegate. If you’re opening a new location, for example, you could task one of your senior or longtime employees with coordinating the training of all the new staff members there. Or you could empower a staff member to take ownership of marketing and social media campaigns. When you free up time and brain space by delegating work at every level, you’re better able to set a clear path forward.

Are your employees equipped to handle the work?

No two people handle a task exactly the same way, and that’s not a bad thing (micromanagers, take note). The real question to ask yourself is whether you believe that the person is capable of doing the job successfully. Even if they can’t yet do it quite as well as you, you should feel confident in their abilities and potential. That’s because hiring the right people should be a priority, especially when you have a new or small business. It’s important to hire people whom you can see growing within your company and staying long-term. And the way to get people to stay is by offering them opportunities to develop their skills and move up in your company.

Do you know how to delegate to the right employees?

As capable as your staff may be, it’s still important to assign them duties according to their experience and skills. For example, straightforward administrative tasks might be best suited to more junior employees or recent hires, while higher-level projects are better for senior staff. No matter the task or the employee, when you assign the work you need to be clear about the objectives and goals. Then, let them run with it without your interference.

Can I step away?

The whole point of delegating is moving work off your plate so you can focus on other projects. That’s not possible if you’re incapable of giving up some control and trusting your employees to do their jobs. Of course, it can be difficult to let other people make any decisions about your company, but if you don’t learn how to delegate, your company is never going to grow and progress.