- Kathryn Johnson, MA
The Art of Delegating
Delegating is hard. It's that simple. You may be nodding in agreement if you've ever had to delegate in a business setting. And if you're a perfectionist like me, you're really nodding because it can seem nearly impossible at times. Handing out tasks may sound easy but being able to do it effectively is the most challenging aspect of delegating.
Many small business owners struggle with knowing what exactly to delegate. Are you nodding again? Running any business takes time and money. And if you delegate poorly, then you end up losing time and money; and that can be devastating over time to a small business owner.
So how do you effectively delegate?
Choose what you are willing to delegate – your time as a business owner should be spent on the tasks that only you can do. Make two lists. One of the tasks you don't have time for and another for or the ones you have limited knowledge in. An example for list one would be combing through mass amounts of email or sending documents to clients. Find a general admin expert to help you. An example for list two would be if social media seems like a foreign concept then leave it to a social media expert.
Choose the right person for the job – Once you identify what you need to delegate, give the work to people who can deliver on those skills. Choosing someone based on familiarity and low cost are mistakes that many business owners are guilty of. Are you nodding? It happens. My tip when hiring, listen and ask what type of work they love to do and vice versa. That simple question can save you time and money. My go to questions for my potential clients, “Is how can I help you most in your business?” and “What task takes up the majority of your time?”
Clarify the assignment – Think back to when you were learning your job, what types of insight and instruction would you have appreciated if it wasn't necessarily given. Finding the right balance of explanation will ensure time and money isn't wasted, and save you from micromanaging.
Give a deadline and create a follow-up system – Since the person you’ve delegated a task out to may not be in your office physically, establish a timeline for each project regardless of how menial the task is. This establishes a working relationship that sets you and your VA up for productivity and doesn't put the final project(s) at risk.
Praise – In acknowledging someone's efforts, you transfer from just solely delegating a task to delegating responsibility and authority. Something as simple as an email saying “Thank you” can do wonders for your working relationship motivating both parties, and lessens the chance for reverse delegation.
Are you nodding in agreement with these tips? Whether you're a one-man operation or a large company, everyone struggles with delegating. Setting aside the fear of delegation and learning to master the above insights will have you on your way to delegating success.
About the Author
Kathryn founded KJ Virtual Assistance in 2016 on the sole principle that you should love the work you do. When reflecting on past positions, there was a prominent trend in administrative roles ranking amongst her favorite. From her time in the Operations Department at the University of Miami to assisting her College Chaplain, the various aspects of a support role have always fulfilled her. A career in Virtual Assistance highlights her self-motivated work ethic, strong interpersonal skills and rigorous attention to detail. Learn More About Kathryn.