Delegate And You'll Manage Better


When small businesses begin to grow, managers invariably find that they have an increasingly time consuming administrative workload. At this point they may add new members to the team to perform duties that they previously handled themselves.

But this situation also gives you the opportunity to delegate some of your decision making to others as well. Delegating some of the decision making gives you more time to focus on growing your business, and team members more opportunity to grow in their jobs.

Analyse and cost what you do

Begin by analysing the work you do. Most business owners don’t realise how much time they spend doing work that could be more effectively performed by others – work that is not really related to the critical functions of the business.

Once you identify the work you are doing that could be done by someone else, list the decisions that these tasks require. These could be decisions about duties as simple as ordering office stationery or handling the petty cash.

Now calculate the authority level needed for each task. If the usual stationery order is $150 a month, then you have to give the person handling the ordering the authority to commit $150 on behalf of your business. Then identify a team member you believe is ready for handling this duty and delegate it!

Developing trust and maintaining security

Delegation requires trust. Many owners have a hard time letting go of responsibilities because they aren’t certain they can trust anyone else to do the work they’ve been doing themselves. Part of delegating successfully involves ensuring that the person to whom you delegate really is equipped to make the decisions they will need to, and this may require specific training. You need to set in place the reporting mechanisms that will allow you to track how they are going.

You also need to consider security issues, particularly when the firm’s funds are involved. Make an assessment of how much is at risk if something goes wrong. If your petty cash float is $200 that’s the amount you can potentially lose. Don’t create an opportunity for petty theft - trusting someone is much easier if temptation has been removed.

Give it time

It may take time for these new responsibilities to be fulfilled to your complete satisfaction. Make yourself available for consultation and review the effects of decisions that are made until you’re certain you can fully pass on the responsibility for making them and not worry.

Rose Mihaly, of consulting firm Mihaly Associates, sums up delegation’s benefits to owners: “When delegation is a tool for facilitating an employee’s growth while the boss gains time to devote to his or her core competencies, delegation becomes a win-win situation.

Until next week,
Mike Reddy