The Art of Delegation

Delegation is one of the business management skills often neglected by the soloist. You have to do it all yourself … right? Wrong! Learning the art of delegation could alleviate your stress.

All too often we find it easier to adopt the attitude of simply ‘do it myself’ and the job will be done correctly. True. I think we might all be guilty at times however, this will only add to your workload and stress whilst others simply observe and wonder why you do it. Letting go of that control with skilful delegation, in a supported combined with some coaching can lead to a more effecient workload.

Richard Branson is a big believer in delegation as quoted here “Virgin’s ability to grow and diversify successfully was set in the company’s early days, with my learning how to delegate and let go” whilst not always possible in a start up business, the faster you are able to delegate and return to your core focus, the easier your workload and the more effecient use of your time will start.

Once you have delegated you need to step back and let go. Nobody likes to be micro-managed.

Provided you chose wisely, you will have someone with great skills taking care of the task. As long as they know where to go if they have a question or need help, your job is now to get on with other great things.  Here’s the four styles of delegation:

  • Direction – High Direction, Low Support
  • Initially a new person needs instruction, not the opportunity to use their initiative. You’ll give them heaps of directions, and only a low amount of support in making decisions. They don’t yet know enough to need much support.
  • Coaching – High Direction, High Support

    They are starting to understand the process. You encourage them to come with questions; you give plenty of explanations, continue to instruct, and also support them in learning and applying new skills and knowledge. You set regular review times, and check constantly that they understand. This is the stage that takes longer more of your time, but if you don’t invest time here you’ll never get beyond the ‘it’s faster to do it myself’ stage.

  • Support – Low Direction, High Support

    These folk are getting a good grip on the process. You’re weaning both you and them off lots of ‘telling’. You now support them in making the decisions. Your role is to help where needed, review their actions and oversee results as they ramp up their level of responsibility.

    If you’ve got someone who keeps asking for help when they really should be able to make the decisions, ask them to come with two solutions when they come with a query. If they’re forced to do the thinking for themselves, pretty soon you’ll find they don’t come for that extra reassurance and you’re not interrupted unnecessarily.

  • Delegation – Low Direction, Low Support

    Only now does true delegation happen. Your delegatee not only has an excellent understanding of the task, but they have the confidence to get on with the job. They can still come for help if they need it, but that’s a rare occurrence. And the big benefit? You’re free to get on with other higher-level activities that will make a long-term difference in your business.

What style best suits your business?