As a business owner, it’s often difficult to let go of tasks and responsibilities, either because you’re afraid of giving up control or because you’ve handled them so long that it didn’t occur to you to do otherwise.
But if you don’t start delegating, you’ll be stuck with the same tasks that consume all your time — time that could be better spent on ideation and business development. It might not be easy, but here’s how to get started.
Take a hard look at your schedule.
Examine your schedule from the past few months and create a detailed list of the tasks you handle on a daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly basis. Note how much time you spend on each and whether or not any of these require travel to a different office or location. Notice how these items fall into different categories, ranging from administrative to strategic.
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Match the right task with the right employee.
Once you create a comprehensive list of your duties, ask yourself: What’s the best use of my time? Hang on to the tasks that should only be completed by you (i.e., critical or confidential work), but then reassign the duties that are better suited to other employees.
If a task is more appropriate to another employee’s experience and job description, give it to them. Delegating is about distributing work appropriately, not only so you can rid yourself of the tasks you find boring or time consuming but also to give your employees the opportunity to grow and invest themselves in your business.
Resist the urge to micromanage.
So you’ve delegated your nonessential tasks — now what? Instead of making yourself (and your employees) crazy by obsessively monitoring their progress with your former duties, set regular check-in meetings.
It’s important to monitor progress, so meet with them and find out what their challenges are. But instead of taking on their problem, ask them how they’re planning to deal with the issue. You can offer guidance and weigh in on their plans, but if you want to empower employees to take ownership, you can’t swoop in and solve every problem they encounter.
Once you’ve reviewed your duties and delegated accordingly, it shouldn’t be set in stone. Instead, get in the habit of revisiting your plan every month or so and determining whether it needs further revisions. That doesn’t mean you should just continue to take responsibilities away from yourself, but you should figure out whether you have delegated appropriately.
And, of course, a task that is appropriate for a certain employee one quarter might need to be reassigned as the company grows and that person takes on more responsibilities. The key is to be responsive to your company’s needs and the ever-changing business environment. Especially when your company is in startup mode, you and your employees have to be nimble and ready to adapt to change.