7 Steps to Unleash the Power of Delegating Workload

The success of a plumbing business depends on knowing how to assign the right tasks to the right workers, and then overseeing projects to ensure the customer is happy

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One of the great things about being a small-business owner or manager is that you can delegate various tasks to other people instead of doing them yourself. This may sound like a rather cavalier statement, but it’s true. As the boss, to do your job efficiently and effectively, you must delegate necessary duties to your staff. If you don’t delegate, you will be overworked and your staff will be underutilized. In fact, you do a disservice to your staff if you don’t delegate because this inhibits employees’ ability to learn new things and grow professionally.

Like all management activities, delegation must be done in a thoughtful, ethical and forward-thinking manner. To that end, consider the following tips when delegating tasks to your staff.

1. Clearly define what can and cannot be delegated

Be mindful of what should and should not be delegated. For example, specific tasks may contain proprietary information that should not be shared at your crew’s organizational level. There are also tasks your employees may not be qualified to perform, thus setting them up for failure. Lastly, don’t just dump unwanted activities onto your staff to get them off your plate. Your team will eventually figure this out, and it will hurt your credibility as the boss.

Delegation is a powerful tool to maximize your team’s productivity, enhance its skill set, help it grow professionally, and free you up to perform higher level tasks. All that said, make sure that you are delegating the right tasks for the right reasons.

2. Create a prioritized delegation plan

Knowing what to delegate, your next step is to develop a plan outlining what tasks should be delegated to which staff member. You should consider the following:

• Who is fully qualified to perform the task?

• Who could perform the task with proper instruction and mentoring with the goal of enhancing his or her skill set?

• Who should not be given the task because of his or her skills weaknesses or for other reasons?

• Who deserves the task based on seniority, past performance and relevant considerations?

• The visibility and importance of the task to your company.

Delegating the right tasks to the right people is not always easy or popular, but if you do it with transparency, fairness, and consistency and for the good of the company, your staff will learn to respect your decisions.

3. Provide clear instructions, and define expectations

There is nothing worse than being delegated a task, not given instructions on how the task should be performed, not told what is expected, working diligently to complete the task, and then being told it isn’t what the boss wanted.

Give specific instructions about what needs to be done and your expectation of the end result. This combination of instructions and expectations establishes criteria as to how your employee will be judged when the task is completed.

4. Provide a safety net

When delegating tasks — particularly if it’s a new experience for the employee being assigned the task — you must be willing to provide appropriate support to help ensure success, for both the employee and the task. This means creating a safety net by providing the necessary resources and training and allowing time to properly perform the delegated tasks.

5. Let go, and allow people to do their work

If you delegate a task and then micromanage it to the extent that you have actually performed the task yourself, it’s not delegation. Neither should you totally divest yourself from the delegated task because you are still ultimately responsible for all work performed by your employees. The trick is to walk that fine line between being overbearing and nonparticipatory.

6. Give credit to those doing the work

As the boss, you should adhere to the philosophy of “it’s the team’s success or my failure.” This philosophy causes you to raise the visibility of your staff’s good work, which motivates your employees and helps instill their loyalty toward you and the company. This approach is a reminder that you are ultimately responsible for employee growth and company performance and productivity.

7. Actively solicit feedback from your team

Ask members of your team if they believe you have delegated the right tasks to the right people. This helps you grow as a manager, improves team performance and shows you are willing to accept suggestions, which makes you more approachable with ideas to grow the company and improve efficiency.

A Final Word

For some business owners, learning to delegate workload is going outside a comfort zone. Many started a business because they enjoy the work of operating equipment, driving a truck or dealing with customers. Your willingness to take this leap of managing employees will build a better, more profitable company as well as advance the professionalism of your crew. 


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