How Leaders Can Delegate for Maximum Impact — A Step-By-Step System
“If your business depends on you, you don’t own a business, you have a job. And it’s the worst job in the world because you’re working for a lunatic.”
— Michael Gerber, The E Myth
What would happen to your business if you went on vacation for six months?
If you’re like most business owners, that question probably makes your heart race, palms sweat, and stomach churn up and down like a mini rollercoaster.
I’ve definitely struggled with some feelings of control in my business. My business is my “baby” and we’ve been together since Day 1. I saw it crawl, take its first steps, and start to walk on its own.
And now that I’m a real parent with a young child, I’m going through these feelings all over again.
It’s hard to let go of something you love. Something you’ve dedicated so much time to.
But I read a lot of biographies about successful entrepreneurs and one thing I’ve noticed is that they’re always great at delegating.
I used to avoid delegation because I thought I could do everything better than anyone else. BAD IDEA.
Eventually I accepted that in order to grow my business I’d need to be OK with letting go.
If you’re the office superhero I’m going to tell you something you probably don’t want to hear:
Trying to do everything is a recipe for failure if you ever want your business to grow AND it can actually cause your business to FAIL.
The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma
Tell me if this sounds familiar:
You’re starting a business. It’s just you and maybe a couple other people. So what do you do? You wear a lot of hats.
You have to — it’s the only one to get things done and get your business off the ground.
When I started Revo Tech I’d code, design, invoice, hire and do everything in between.
Website running slow? I’d be the one troubleshooting plugins and broken code.
Electric bill needs to be paid? I’d be the one pulling out the company credit card.
Job opening needs to be filled? I’d be the one reviewing an inbox full of resumes.
So what does an ambitious entrepreneur do when he wants to grow his business AND find a way to have a life outside the office?
I suggest taking a step back and thinking about why you want to get good at delegation in the first place.
“I find that many entrepreneurs are trying to do everything when it would be cheaper and more time efficient to delegate, even if there are monetary costs associated with that.” — James Altucher
The Benefits of Delegation:
- SKILLS: In my experience, entrepreneurs are highly skilled in only a few areas, so it’s very possible that you’re NOT the best person for the task at hand.
- TIME: Your time is finite. Refusing to delegate will make you lose precious time that can be spent on higher levels of responsibility, like planning office parties (just kidding!).
- VALUE: When you have a small team, it’s easier to spend time with your employees, but eventually you hit a point where it doesn’t scale. Delegation helps you multiply the value you provide to your company as a whole.
- LEADERSHIP: Delegation will help you grow from a manager (actively managing people) into a leader (inspiring people to fulfill the company vision). You cannot lead when you’re constantly telling people what to do.
- STAFF DEVELOPMENT: A big part of delegation is trust. You’re trusting your team to take care of projects and tasks without your constant supervision. If you can’t trust your employees to get the job done, why hire them in the 1st place? Delegating improves team morale and confidence while micromanagement creates dissatisfied employees.
- VISION: As a leader, you need to be the one looking forward and planning ahead. If you’re not, who will? By spending too much time on smaller details your grand vision will suffer.
“You’re right Myo! You’ve made a good case for delegating. But HOW do I do it? I’m not sure where to start.”
#3 Steps to Effective Delegation
- Decide on specific outcomes — What results do you want? What does success look like? What metrics will you use? How will you know when a project or task is complete?
- Delegate to team members — Who is best suited to complete the task or project? Who has the bandwidth? What can be done by one person and what will require a team? Who will they report to?
For example, travel tends to be a big part of Revo’s business, whether it’s for client meetings or new business pitches. Some of my employees enjoy business travel, but after doing it for several years now I’d rather stay close to the office where I can make a bigger impact.
I decided to swap some team members into the roles that required travel while taking myself out of it, and our business grew because I was no longer the limiting factor.
It was a win/win: I focused on what I loved, while they focused on what they loved.
3. Establish a timeline with deadlines — When is the project/task due? Can it be sooner? How can the project be broken down into smaller tasks?
Manage Like A Machine
So now we’ve established:
- Why delegation can help you grow
- How to delegate
Lastly, I want to point out that thinking about my business like a machine was an important mindset shift. It was a shift that forced us to put the right process and systems in place so that Revo would be able to function without me for short periods of time.
This year I was able to take a two week vacation using this approach, and although I love my business, it’s important to take some time away from the office and recharge. I came back refreshed and ready to get back to work.
One of my goals for 2017 is to get Revo to a place where my team’s able to provide day-to-day client service with even less involvement on my end so I can continue to focus on Revo’s future, from business opportunities to how we’re positioned in the marketplace.
If you’re still struggling to delegate, I encourage you to try it in small steps. Be aware that it’s not something that happens overnight. It takes time, but the benefits are incredible when realized.
If you think your business will fall apart without you, then you’ve made yourself more important than you need to be. It’s important to separate your ego from what’s best for your company. As the saying goes, you’ll be working IN your business instead of ON it.