How to Delegate Work: Best Practices Every Entrepreneur Must Know

The sooner you embrace the fact that your team will always be more productive than you alone, the faster you will learn how to delegate work effectively and grow your business quickly and sustainably.

Being a successful business owner doesn’t mean that you are an expert in all spheres, or that you need to do most of the work on your own. Frankly, the belief that, “If you want something done right, you’d better do it yourself,” is not always true and is, in fact, often seen as rather foolish. In today’s terms, a winning entrepreneur is a person who is smart enough to gather together a brilliant team and identify who is best suited to tackle a particular task or problem.

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5 Eye-Opening Tips on How to Delegate Work

There are several misconceptions which make people think that task delegation is not effective. In fact, you just have to know HOW to delegate work so that such cooperation becomes effective. That was the case with me once. The primary reason why I refused to delegate tasks was simple: “I don’t have time to explain it.” Among other main reasons were things like, “I don’t have anyone to delegate to,” and, “this guy has already screwed it up once, I can do it better myself.” It’s essential to know why people are not delegating to understand the source of your doubts and make a final decision. The good news is that delegation is a skill that can be mastered. And I am a perfect example that it is quite feasible.

I have realized recently that business owners with professional and technical backgrounds are more reluctant to delegate tasks than people with a non-technical management background, whose jobs require substantial delegation. When you work for someone else, you are told what to do, when to work, and for how long. When you work for yourself, you don’t have anyone standing over your shoulder and telling you what the best way to do your work is. However, you may find yourself struggling to manage your time and be productive while running your small business. Luckily, there are several things you can do to ensure sustainable growth to your business – learn how to delegate work tasks utilizing the best practices provided below.

Pick the Right Person

The very first thing that each entrepreneur should know is that delegating is not simply passing your work off to someone else, just because you are bored and don’t want to do it yourself. If you know how to delegate work so that both sides are satisfied, you have the skill of a strong leader who can match their employee’s strengths to a particular project. A businessperson should understand the bigger picture behind the work to be done and view delegation as the possibility for employees to upgrade their skills and master new knowledge and tools. Before assigning tasks to employees, you should take into consideration their technical background, as well as their strengths and weaknesses, so that the task won’t be a burden for them but rather an opportunity to unlock their potential.

“If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings – and put compensation as a carrier behind it – you almost don’t have to manage them.”

Jack Welch, former CEO at General Electric

Hand-Off Responsibility

One more thing that many people overlook is the difference between delegation and managing. If you assign a task to an employee, it is imperative that they be ready to shoulder the responsibility. As a wise leader, all you need is to create an environment where your employees feel they’re able to decide on matters, make mistakes, learn from them, and take the necessary steps to complete the work. Don’t be bossy, overseeing everything they do. Believe me, if your employees understand that they are taking responsibility for something important, they will do their best not to let you down. Step out of their way for a while, let them control the situation, but never refuse to provide assistance when it is necessary. Be like a wise parent: let your kids be independent but keep an eye out for any misbehavior, so that you can react quickly. In other words, trust, but verify.

“In a nutshell, delegation is a great motivator for employees. It demonstrates that you trust their abilities enough to hand over responsibility.”

Michael Foote, founder of Quote Goat

Communicate a Task Clearly

Once you pick a person to assign a task to, make sure you define clear goals and the overall purpose of the project. The second important thing is to provide accurate instructions. My advice is to present them in the form of a training document with step by step guidelines, complemented with screenshots and images. This allows you to reuse these guides in the future, to bring more employees on board and to avoid miscommunication. However, don’t rely on written instructions alone. Talk to your team members to make sure that everyone is on the same page. In order to improve collaboration and communication whenever you delegate a task, think about project management platforms. Find the environment where your team can collaborate and accumulate company knowledge.

“Most people don’t leave their job. They leave their manager.”

Chrystalee Beck, the researcher of “Perceptions of Thanks in the Workplace

Provide Employees with the Right Tools

In today’s ‘do more with less’ world, most routine work can be automated with the help of efficient software. Make sure you don’t overload your employees with menial tasks. Think about how to delegate work tasks that unlock their potential. Delegate tasks that push your team members outside of their comfort zone, and challenge them to reach a new level of creativity and leadership. Identify the tasks you repeat often, and look into automating them to save time. Leave the routine to the tools that are designed to help us be more productive and efficient at work. Believe me, both you and your employees will be much happier to learn how to use an automation tool rather than repeatedly working on routine tasks.

“Working hard is not a barometer, because you can work very hard and still be building a road to nowhere… “do more with less” challenge presents a golden opportunity for smart, proactive people.”

Rodger Dean Duncan, author and business consultant

Recognize and Appreciate Effort

It is important to provide your employees with valuable feedback and ask what they think of your assignment and instructions. When someone completes a task or project you’ve delegated to them, show genuine appreciation, and point out specific things they did right or well. Accept the fact that a person is inclined to make mistakes. So, set realistic expectations and give them a second chance, so that they can recognize where the process has gone wrong, and how it can be made better. Remember, nobody loses from experiments, you either win or learn from your mistakes to succeed the next time!

“A big part of a positive employer-employee relationship is feeling recognized for your effort. Leaders who get it right reward their organization with happier employees. Those who get it wrong lose good people.”

Chrystalee Beck, the researcher of “Perceptions of Thanks in the Workplace

It’s true; it takes a while before you stop being the go-to person who is bombarded with thousands of questions every day. Delegation eliminates this problem once and for all, especially if you use the appropriate software. As soon as you learn how to delegate work efficiently, you will discover the true potential of your team. And, if your employees succeed, your business succeeds as well. Use smart delegation techniques to grow your employees – and watch your business grow with them.

Delegation is Your Solution

I can share a secret on how to delegate work tasks from our founder and CEO Sasha Reminnyi. He frequently takes trips to various countries and works remotely on business development. Sometimes, he leaves us for 2-3 months. Although there are significant differences between time zones and long distances, he leaves our team without any worries (well…almost without any worries). Sasha realizes that his presence in the office is not always necessary, and he can delegate tasks and provide feedback while being miles away from the team. Do you wonder how to delegate work effectively? First, Sasha assigns not only a task to a person but also the responsibility. By empowering people to make decisions, he’s understood that they tend to show better results because they feel like they are doing something essential for the company’s success and they don’t want to let him down. Of course, everything isn’t going completely seamlessly. Mistakes do happen, but they keep us moving forward.

The most dramatic problem our team experienced during Sasha’s longest vacation was miscommunication. We had meetings once a fortnight and several separate planning sessions for different departments, but Sasha still felt guilty for not being able to answer all our questions on time. Unexpectedly to us, he began to use Stepsy to provide feedback to our team. It appeared very tedious to write long passages of text, describing all his remarks and suggestions. So, Sasha used Stepsy to make quick guides showing our team what had to be done. In fact, it really helped to tackle this communication gap. Delegation isn’t a complicated concept at all. All you need to ask yourself is: Why delegate? Whom to delegate to? What to delegate?

You may leave your lunch at home or forget to pay utility bills. However, you cannot screw things related to your business up – documents, invoices, emails, etc. How you ask? Delegation is the answer. Learn how to delegate work tasks, and next time when you decide to embark on a new journey, you won’t be afraid that anyone will goof up.

What delegation techniques do you use to grow your business? Don’t hesitate to share your best practices with us!