Published October 10, 2019
Question: I own and operate a small business with 10 employees. Time management is a problem for me as I am constantly called on to answer questions I believe can be handled by others in my employ. Is there a solution to my problem?
Answer: The Webster dictionary defines the word “delegate” as…To entrust to another… To empower another person to act.
In his article, The Art of Delegation, Eric Swanson says “Delegation is the act of empowering others to accomplish a task. Although it seems like one of the simplest things in the world to do it is one of the hardest to accomplish. The job of a leader is to see that all the work gets done – not to do it all him or herself.”
All too often owners and managers of small businesses try to wear too many hats. They have the mentality that “if I want something done right, I have to do it myself”. Some employees are more than happy to allow the boss to make all the decisions. If something goes wrong, it’s not their problem.
Others, however, may be high achievers and welcome the opportunity to accept responsibility for important projects. You could start by delegating a single low priority task. If the task is completed successfully, you will gain confidence and trust in that person.
Realize that when you delegate something to another, it is out of your hands. Mistakes will sometimes be made in the learning process. Resist the urge to intervene. Wait to see if the employee recognizes and rectifies the mistake before passing judgment.
The art of delegation is a long term investment. The more time you invest in training and giving feedback to your employees, the better results you will get in the end.
The next time one of your employees comes to you with a question, answer with a question of your own…What do you think is a possible solution to this problem? You may find that they had the solution all along and just wanted you validate it.
By allowing your employees to make their own decisions, you will develop a culture where they can work independently and deliver more value to your business.
An added bonus of delegation is that it will free up your time to do what you do best to ensure continued business growth and stability, which will benefit you, your employees and customers.
Gray Poehler is a volunteer with SCORE Naples. Business counseling on this and other business matters is available, without charge, from the Naples Chapter of SCORE. Call (239) 430-0081 or visit https://naples.score.org/content/find-mentor-165 The SCORE business office is located at 900 Goodlette Road North, in the Fifth Third branch bank building. Office hours are 9 a.m. to noon, Monday through Friday.