Learning how to delegate jobs is a quick-fire way of boosting productivity within your business. However, if you don’t get it right, it could actually hamper the way your employees work.
(No pressure then!)
In fact, in a study conducted by Opus Energy, a huge portion of business owners don’t even delegate any easy tasks to their employees, with 62% wasting time checking their emails on a daily basis and 47% of them working through the weekend.
This work ethic has also resulted in 74% of SME owners stating that their relationships with their partner, friends or family have been affected by the long hours.
The truth of the matter is, there isn’t enough time in the day to do everything.
Delegating the ‘right’ way is the key. To help you achieve this, here are some actionable tips you can use for yourself.
Think about your end goal
Before you start delegating all of your tasks around the business, sit down and think about the end goal of the project.
Think of yourself as an athlete. They don’t put in their blood, sweat and tears for nothing – they set their sights on the gold medal at the Olympic Games.
The key to delegating success is to break your end goal up into bitesize chunks. If you don’t do this, employees can feel overwhelmed when you throw 1,000 tasks on their desk.
From your own perspective, this will also give you a clearer idea of who needs further assistance, as well as helping to manage deadline expectations.
Keep the essential tasks you feel you are best placed to deal with and delegate smaller things like processing invoices, arranging travel arrangements and so on.
Use the Pareto principle
The Pareto principle is known as the 80/20 rule and was a term first used to describe a theory that 80% of Italy’s wealth belonged to only 20% of the population.
In today’s business terms, the Pareto principle is used to showcase how you (as a manager) should distribute your jobs.
The idea is that 20% of all the responsibilities that you deal with are responsible for 80% of your business’ revenue. However, if you try to do more than your 20%, your revenue will probably drop as the quality of work won’t be as good.
Don’t get me wrong, the remaining 80% of other tasks that you give to other employees must be done. But the trick is to only keep the ones that you have to complete yourself and relieve some of the stress by delegating the other tasks.
Put tasks into categories
If you’ve read the Pareto principle and are panicking about which tasks should make up your 20%, here’s your answer.
To break your end goal into manageable tasks, you need to categorise them so you can delegate them correctly. If you’ve built your company up from scratch, this is arguably the hardest part of all, as every single task is precious to you.
As a starting point, try categorising jobs using these headers:
- cleaning duties
- conducting research
- debt chasing and processing invoices
- data entry.
Sure, these categories might not be viewed as the greatest aspect of a job description, but it has to be done.
Putting every task into categories like these will enable you to find certain employees who are either willing or best suited to do a great job.
If you don’t categorise tasks, you may end up giving someone a job which they aren’t very good at, which can impact the running of your business.
For example, if you know someone who is organised, precise and handy with numbers, they’ll probably be the best candidate for filing, data entry and processing invoice duties.
Educate your employees
One of the biggest issues business owners have with delegating jobs is that they don’t believe that their employees can do certain ones as well as them.
That’s exactly why you should take the time to teach them. According to BambooHR, one of the most common reasons for employees leaving happens when they don’t receive clear instructions on how to complete a task successfully.
Show some confidence in your employees and they will usually repay the faith by doing a top job. You’ll be surprised by how many professionals are willing to learn the ropes.
Remember to manage
Delegating tasks is one thing, but if you fail to follow-up on your requests, employees may deprioritise it.
You should always ask them for a timeline and give them constructive feedback as a part of your follow-up process.
By doing this, the employee will be able to stay on track, improve their work and ensure your business maintains a high standard of work.
To successfully delegate jobs, you need to work smarter, not harder. The Pareto principle allows you to do this effectively, making sure that you prioritise only 20% of the day-to-day tasks in order to generate optimum results.
Remain patient and avoid micromanagement. While your employees may make a few mistakes at the start, with the right delegation and time spent nurturing, you’ll see some fantastic results in a matter of weeks.
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