When you have created your own company from scratch, built off nothing but your ideas and your determination to succeed, the idea of delegation can seem like a scary word. When you begin in business, almost everything is about you and how well you can do it. It’s your vision, your plans, and your way of figuring out what your next steps are.
If you are very lucky, then the growth of your business will be rather straightforward. You’ll make more money, satisfy more orders, increase your reputation and everything will rather bloom from there. Business, when it’s done right, doesn’t have to be complicated.
When you get over the initial problems of establishing a business, it can feel like you have got smooth sailing from this point on. You’ve cruised past the choppy waters of investment hurdles and now you’re into your second or third year. You know what you’re doing, your business is ripe for expansion, you’ve even been able to take on staff… ah, that’s where the problem hits isn’t it?
You have been there since your business was nothing but an idea you had and wondered if you could do something with it. Now, you have staff, people who have their own visions for the future. You have to share everything you have built up and – well, it can be tough to let go.
What’s The Alternative?
Say that you point-blank refuse to listen to the points below and think that you can manage just fine without having to delegate to staff. You might think that you can be the spider at the centre of the web and everyone can do a little bit, but you’re always going to be there with overall control. You don’t have to relinquish anything; you can do it all.
That, of course, is what it will come down to: you’ll try to do it all. You’ll try to be everything to your business as even if you have the staff, without learning to delegate, you won’t properly feel that you can trust them. So you’ll find yourself overly involved in customer complaints, trying to run your own SEO campaign, worrying about how nutritious the office snacks are…
No one can be everything to their business. There isn’t an alternative; you have to learn to delegate, or your business will die. It’s that simple.
So How Do You Learn To Delegate?
1) Take It Slowly
Don’t expect that you will suddenly wake up one morning and feel comfortable handing over control to a member of staff on huge issues. You still retain your business acumen and you’ve still got plenty to contribute here, so there’s no need to deliberately sideline yourself.
Just start gently, with small tasks and decisions. Ask for someone’s input and (providing they are not absolutely and obviously incorrect), follow their advice rather than looking for your own solutions. You will soon see that the business doesn’t crumble because you have let others use their initiative, rather than solely relying on your own. The more successes that happen as a result of your delegation, the more you will be emboldened to continue to delegate.
2) Have Red Lines
If you have struggled to delegate in the past, even by taking it slowly, it’s unlikely you’re going to be able to totally overrule your gut instinct to protect. So you need to channel it, by giving yourself a set of “red lines” that you will never delegate tasks from unless you feel completely comfortable to do it.
You could grant yourself the full final control of hiring decisions or the focus of your SEO strategy; you can be as involved as you want, providing there are some areas where you cede control and decision-making powers to another person. With any luck, you’ll feel more reassured when you know there are some areas that will continue to fall inside your control.
3) Tell Your Staff
You don’t have to be infallible with your staff; you can tell the most senior that you are having issues delegating and that they should be aware of that. Not only does this ease the burden of worry from being yours alone, but they might have intelligent suggestions related directly to your business that could really help you. You never know – it might be delegation itself that gives you the answer when wondering how to delegate.