By Nate Huskins, founder and president of Marshal Group LLC
This is true for a number of reasons: I want to be very hands-on with all aspects of my business. I often think I’m the only one who can do certain tasks because of my attention to detail and quality. And I want everything done now.
However, when I realized I was working way too many hours and needed better work-life balance, I knew delegating more would be key to making that happen. Here are a few lessons I learned.
1. Accept the fact that you can’t do everything yourself.
That instinctive desire to do it all is most likely holding you back. If you have great ideas but can’t find time to execute those ideas, then embrace the opportunity to delegate. View it as a means to free up valuable time -- more hours you can use to act on your big ideas, grow your business and achieve greater success.
2. Delegate big tasks, not just small ones.
When I first attempted to delegate more tasks to others on my team, I started by delegating the small stuff. However, over time, I learned that was the wrong strategy because employees only focused on the small stuff and could not see the big picture. They did not feel connected with our company as a whole.
That’s why we needed a different approach. I found I am better off with delegating bigger tasks because employees gain a greater understanding of how my business works and learn to appreciate the fact that even small tasks are important to keep it running efficiently.
3. Block out time to delegate tasks.
I am a big fan of time blocking, which involves dedicating chunks of time in your schedule for various tasks. It is an effective method for getting things done, and that includes delegating. I have found that putting delegation duties on my calendar -- actually blocking out time -- forces me to use that time to meet with employees and verbally explain what I am trying to delegate to them.
4. Create standard operating procedure (SOP) documents.
When I made the decision to begin using SOPs (a smart suggestion from one of my employees), it ended up having a big impact on my business. Here’s how to do it for your business: Whenever you choose to delegate a task or a series of tasks, draft the procedural steps in writing. Save your document as an SOP PDF, and make the PDF accessible online.
Over time, you will develop a digital library of SOP documents for internal use. Staff members will be able to refer to these valuable resources time and time again, instead of repeatedly asking you to clarify instructions.
If you do not have time to draft SOPs yourself, then delegate that task as well. That way, you will only need to review and approve the wording instead of writing each one from scratch.
5. Follow up.
After you delegate a task, your responsibility attached to that task doesn’t end there. You have to follow up later, after a few days or weeks, to make sure that task is being properly executed.
Now I will admit, in all honesty, that is not always easy to do. I often will think, “OK, I have delegated task A, and now I can move on to task B.” Then I forget I need to follow up on task A to make sure that it is being done properly. The only way I can remember to follow up is if I actually schedule time to do it.
6. Trust that your employees will complete delegated tasks.
I do not have time to micromanage, and I don’t want to micromanage. Instead, I give complete trust to my employees and allow them to prove that they are worthy of that trust. This means they must act responsibly and prove that they are meeting established goals. Accountability and trust go hand in hand.
7. Play to your strengths and weaknesses.
Let me give you an example: I enjoy being hands-on with the financial side of my business because math is enjoyable for me. However, one thing I do not like to do is read and analyze long documents. Therefore, I find that sort of task easier to delegate to somebody who is going to be better at it.
Learning to delegate successfully as an entrepreneur requires some work, but the rewards are worth it. Try the seven tips listed above to make delegating simpler, smoother and more effective.
Nate Huskins is founder and president of Marshal Group LLC (exportusautos.com), which exports vehicles from the U.S. and Canada to destinations abroad.