As a business owner, one thing is certain—you wear multiple hats and all those hats can start to weigh you down. To keep your business up and running, you are responsible for strategy, budgeting, marketing, sales, branding, accounting, invoicing, and more. However, if you try and take on each of these tasks yourself, you’re doomed to either complete failure in business or, worse, stress-induced medical problems.
To run a successful business, it’s vital to do what the smartest business owners do: get a strong hold on task allocation. If you’re unconvinced, here are a few reasons why a delegation of authority will be better for your business.
Why is task allocation so important?
1. Boosts productivity
You’ve heard of the Pareto Principle, right? You know, the 80/20 rule? In other words, 20 percent of one thing will earn 80 percent of the results. If you apply the Pareto Principle to job duties, it means 20 percent of your work efforts will yield 80 percent of the results you achieve. The delegation will help you amplify these results. Decide which 20 percent of all your job duties you personally do best. Is that management? Is it leadership? Is it budgeting? Is it strategy? Whatever it is, home in on your strengths, and then delegate the other 80 percent of things to your team members. The results will be astounding and you’ll avoid burnout and reduce the amount of time you waste all while producing better results faster.
Don’t believe it? Studies from HBR indicate that workers spent an average of 41% on their time on discretionary tasks that could be easily delegated to others. Furthermore, 25% of CEO’s time is spent on tasks that machines could do.
When you delegate tasks to team members and automate mundane tasks, you free up your time to work on more pressing issues.
2. Increases efficiency
When you assign responsibilities to capable team members, you also increase efficiency. Furthermore, you can save time by using various collaboration tools to help you with the delegation.
When everyone has the same digital reference for project roles, responsibilities, and timelines, you eliminate confusion and open up a more efficient path to project completion.
Again, the primary purpose of teamwork is to use everyone’s time and talents to reach an end goal. When you assign different responsibilities to every team members, you speed up the process and get things done much more quickly than if you were to take it on yourself.
3. Boosts company morale
Have you heard of self-enhancement bias? Self-enhancement bias is the belief that you do everything better than everyone else, that your work is better than others, and that it’s easier to just do things yourself. In other words, people with self-enhancement bias don’t delegate because they think they are better than their team members.
If this sounds familiar, it should come as a huge warning signal that it’s time to delegate. Why? Because chances are, you don’t do everything better than everyone and your self-enhancement bias is causing animosity among your coworkers, deflating company morale.
If you believe your company can’t survive one day without you, or that a project will completely blow up without you on it, it’s time to take a good hard look at your management style and start over.
Rather than dipping your hands into every project, take the time to get to know your staff and their work. Find out each of your team members’ qualities and strengths and then use those for the betterment of your company. This will give your co-workers an opportunity to thrive, create a more positive environment, and boost company morale.
4. Improves quality of work
Another benefit of task allocation is you improve the overall quality of work. We just talked about how self-enhancement bias can lead to a decrease in company morale, but even worse, it can lead to a decline in the quality of work you are producing.
The fact of the matter is you are probably not the best designer, and content writer, and strategist, and accountant, and researcher, and analyst, etc. Yes, you have strengths that make you a solid manager and an invaluable asset to your company, but so do your co-workers. That’s why you hired them.
Rather than overworking yourself by trying to do everything yourself, assign different parts of the project to match the strengths of your co-workers. Not only will this save you time, but it will also ensure that the work you are producing is, bar none, the best!
“Learning the art of delegation is absolutely key.” – Sir Richard Branson
How to delegate
Now that we have talked about the importance of delegation, let’s talk about some ways you can delegate effectively.
1. Get to know your co-workers
The first step in delegating effectively is to get to know your team members. Ideally, this should happen during the interview process so you understand exactly what their strengths and weaknesses are. In the event, you didn’t hire the person or didn’t do your due diligence up front, take the time now to learn about your co-workers.
You can do this by talking to them, interviewing them, setting up meetings to hear their ideas, viewing past projects, and monitoring their results through quantifiable KPIs.
When you know your team members, you can rest assured that you will choose the right person for the right jobs.
2. Set aside time for employee training
Not every employee is going to enter your firm with a perfectly keen business acumen or as an ace of every desirable skill set listed in the job requirements section. In fact, probably no one you hire will. That’s why it’s important to provide opportunities for your employees to continue learning.
It may take some extra effort and money to “teach a man to fish,” but it will be well worth your time in the long-run to invest in your employees. The more you invest in them, the easier it will be for you to delegate tasks and know they will get done to your satisfaction levels.
At Time Doctor, we have 4 hours a week of paid time allocated purely for employee learning.
3. Clarify project expectations
To make sure projects get completed satisfactorily and on time, it’s important to clarify project expectations. This includes making sure your employees know what their responsibilities are, the quality of deliverables, milestones, and due dates.
This process is nearly impossible to manage on your own. That’s why it’s important to invest in a project management tool that will help you set expectations, assign tasks, communicate with team members, track time, and submit projects.
4. Review the project
Before you set milestones for monitoring progress, take the time to discuss the project with the person you delegated the task to. Ask them for ideas about the project, let them ask questions for clarification, elicit feedback, and see if there are any areas where they will need help.
When you take the time to review the details of the task you just assigned, you ensure you are covering all of your bases beforehand, so you don’t have to go back and fix something major later.
5. Monitor progress
If you know your employees well and are confident they understand the project responsibilities, then there is no need to micromanage. Instead, you can simply monitor progress and provide feedback.
To save time, consider setting up times to review work that has been done so far, offer feedback, and then set another date for a final review before your employee submits the project for final review.
6. Evaluate performance
When the project is finally finished, it’s time to evaluate performance. It’s important never to skip this step, even though it takes more time. Why? If someone on your team does a subpar job on a task you assigned them, and they get no feedback, how do you think they will perform next time? If you want your employees to improve, then you need to tell them what they did well, what went poorly, and what you expect of them next time. This gives the employee an opportunity to improve their work each and every time.
Again, it’s absurd to expect perfection the first time, but if you provide useful feedback, you can raise your standards for the next project.
What tools help with delegation of authority?
We’ve talked about the benefits of delegating including increased efficiency and boosts in productivity, but it’s difficult to achieve that without some tools that help you delegate and help keep all your team members on the same page.
Here are some of the best tools on the market that will help you with task allocation.
Asana is an awesome task management system that will help you with the delegation. With Asana, you can break up large projects into individual tasks and assign each task to a different team member. Additionally, Asana will send out email reminders to employees to remind them of different due dates.
For example, if you assign a blog post to one of your content writers, you can set a date for a first draft, a review, a second draft, a final edit, the final submission, SEO details to be entered, and an invoice submitted. You can essentially set the dates and then rely on the tool to keep your team members on task.
When you have several team members working on one project, you need a way to share files that won’t clog up inboxes or take forever to load. For this, Dropbox is your answer.
Dropbox has different options for individuals and businesses to suit your needs. No matter how small or large your firm is, Dropbox will help you make sure everyone on your team has access to the right files.
Email, phone calls, and meetings are necessary during a project, but what if you just have a quick question or need to communicate something small to your team or an individual?
Slack is an app that brings all the pieces of the project puzzle together into one convenient location. You can ask questions, send group messages, have one-off conversations within a Slack chat group, and get quick input from team members as needed.
When you have several people working on a project, especially if you have remote workers on your team, you need a way to keep track of their time. Time Doctor is perfect for this.
Time Doctor offers top-notch time tracking, screenshot monitoring, chat monitoring, powerful reports, a payroll module, and desktop and mobile tracking abilities.
Not only does it help you keep track of your employees, but it also integrates seamlessly with other project management apps like Slack, Asana, Salesforce, Trello, GitHub, Jira, Basecamp, and much more.
One of the best things about Google Apps as a helpful project management tool is how familiar everyone is with Google. No matter where your employees reside, they probably have a Gmail account or are familiar with the G-Suite.
Additionally, Google Apps is very versatile. With Google Apps, you can send email, chat, have video conferences, share files, create documents and presentations, edit documents and presentations, and calendar invites, and more.
Google Apps is also a free platform. If money is of concern to your startup, but you still have several team members, then Google Apps is a great place to start.
It may be tempting to try and do everything yourself. After all, you are invested in this company and you have a skill set that no one else has. However, it’s a mistake to try and wear every hat in the company. If you do, you will find your work-life balance severely upset, your health begins to fade, your employees upset, and company morale declining.
Instead, work on the art of delegation. When you delegate properly and use software to help you delegate, you’ll find that your company runs more efficiently, productivity levels rise, people are happier at work, and your quality of work improves immensely. Do yourself a favor, and take the time to allocate your tasks to all the talented members of your team.
Amara writes for TimeDoctor.com, a software designed for tracking hours and optimizing productivity for remote workers and remote teams.