A guide to successful delegating in (small) business

Read our introductory guide to delegating effectively in (small) business.

Helen Cockle

Managing your team effectively is not easy. That's why we've compiled this guide to delegating effectively. (Small) business owners usually have a lot on their plate - this is why it is key to delegate tasks. Successful delegation will make your life as a (small) business owner considerably easier.

Define 'delegating'?

Delegating is a phrase you've undoubtedly heard before, but many owners of (small) businesses don't know how to really delegate (i.e., pass responsibility onto someone). Delegating does not imply passing on responsibilities you don't want to undertake yourself. It also doesn't imply relinquishing all of your duties. Successful delegating is based on understanding your team's talents and strengths and delegating certain tasks based on that.

Meeting in office
(Small) business owners usually have a lot on their plate - this is why it is key to delegate tasks.

A guide to delegating for (small) business owners

Successful delegating is about establishing workflows within your company to achieve the best outcomes possible.

Here is our list of what to consider when delegating:

Is the person you are delegating to available?

  • Don't just distribute tasks without thinking about whether your team has the capacity to take them on. You don't want your team to burn out. Consider your schedules, as well as their present workload, before making any decisions. It's all about balance. Small business relies on effective communication.

Has the person you are delegating to got the right skillset?

  • You may all be in the same sector, but everyone has their own strengehts and interests. For example, you could all be accountants, but one of you may be fantastic at tracking down overdue invoices while another member of the team detests doing it. Remember this as you don't want to dampen someone's enthusiasm by assigning them a job they don't want to do. Many (small) business owners know their employees well - capitalize on that.
Team meeting in office
Don't just distribute tasks without thinking about whether your team has the capacity to take them on.

Is there enough time for this task to be done properly?

  • Don't delegate responsibilities at the last minute if you know there are tight deadlines. Of course, this is sometimes inevitable, but you should make sure that your employees understand that you're working as a team. If you delegate effectively and early enough, these situations can mostly be avoided.

Is there capacity to make this task a regular duty?

  • If the task is reoccurring, make sure the person you're delegating to has the capacity to make this a reoccurring responsibility of theirs, so you don't have to delegate all over again. Efficiency is of the highest essence in small business success.

Is everyone aware of and comfortable with the process?

  • When you're delegating work, make sure everyone knows what to expect. The process and purpose of their input should be clear to everyone. Team members may not complete their responsibilities effectively if they don't know what's expected of them.
Man typing on laptop
When you're delegating work, make sure everyone knows what to expect.

Issues in delegating and what to do about them

Delegating entails a certain level of self-reflection. It takes a degree of confidence to successfully delegate as well as trust in the abilities of those you're leading. If you feel as if something is keeping you from achieving your goals, there could be another issue that needs addressing first:

  • You're concerned that the work will be substandard: Why is this? Should you provide more training as a result of this? Is it a sign of communication failure?
  • The team is unhappy with their responsibilities: Have you considered the individual strengths and talents of each team member?
  • Concerns about deadlines: If you believe your team isn't on track, offer assistance and direction. It doesn't imply you can't get involved simply because it's not your job. No person is an island; everyone in your team has a part in the project's success.
  • Your team isn't cooperating: Delegating authority is not always simple, and if your team doesn't seem receptive to your instructions, consider where you might improve. Are you micro-managing and suffocating their creativity? Are you being too authoritarian and killing any collaboration?

We understand how difficult small business management can be. If you are struggling with delegating tasks - come and have a chat with us. We are happy to help you save time and tackle tasks more effectively.

Man using phone
Delegating entails a certain level of self-reflection.

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