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Task Assignment and Delegation

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If you are a small business owner and proud to do everything on your own, delegation is difficult. Your business is your baby and your blood; it seems unnatural to trust someone else to take over your responsibilities, even though that person has long been an employee, business partner or, perhaps worse, a family member. I mean, sure, there's no way they could do a job better or more thoroughly than you could, right?

As your business begins to grow, you will inevitably have to become familiar with delegating tasks. It's impossible to think that you can continue to do everything in your company and still grow at the pace you want. Below are 6 steps to help you successfully delegate. This can be a sensitive area, so if you have your own practical tips, you can share them.

1. Identify the task.

What do you want to delegate? It can be a repetitive task that takes too much time, something that you don't enjoy that another employee would do (such as payroll, customer service, etc.) or another job that makes you work in your company instead of on it. Or maybe there is something that you think is stopping your business? Take a moment to define the task you want to delegate as clearly as possible: where does the task begin, where does it end, what does it entail, and so on, so that you can better assign it to someone else.

2. Assign the task.

View your team and analyze their strengths and weaknesses and interests to determine who is best suited to take over the delegated task. Has someone in your team already expressed an interest in learning a new trade or doing more? If that is the case, this is the time to have them leave. If not, you may have to hire someone to fill the job. When assigning the task, keep clear what the person can or cannot do. Is their job dothe task, or just to set it up so that you can do it easier? If they are responsible for that, how much autonomy do they have? Can they make management decisions or do they first have to take them with you? (If the latter is the case, ask yourself whether you are transferring or doubling the workload.) The more control someone has over his or her task, the more they will have invested in performing it correctly. Be as specific as you can be when assigning and breaking out the task so that the person taking over knows exactly what is and what is not under control.

3. Train the employee.

You can't just assign someone a task and then walk away. You will need training to help them adapt to their new roles, especially if you have hired someone new. Just because you have delegated responsibility to someone else doesn't mean that you are hooking it up to make sure it's done right. Take the time to take over everything they need to know, let them give you some shade and point them to resources where they can learn more themselves. Prepare to face the fact that this new person will probably not do everything the way you would. We are all different and therefore have our own way of approaching situations. This is OK as long as the end result is the same.If you force yourself to do things on a staff member, you not only discourage them from learning, but they can ultimately blame the task completely. Judge on results, not on process.

4. Let go.

This is where the delegation process often begins to fail. You identify the task, assign the task ... and then you keep yourself in the task, you want to stay constantly up to date, you want to stay in control of how it goes, and you add two cents to help the person. Unfortunately, all you really do is undermine the process and their chances of success. The more you try to insert yourself to make sure things are done "your way," the less owner the person will feel about the task and the weaker their performance will be. If you don't let go, you don't delegate. You simply double the work.

5. Follow the progress.

As with any other business procedure, you should have a way to track progress and determine success. Check in regularly with a new person (maybe every two weeks) to check if they stay working and if the goals are met. If that is not the case, they may need additional training or spend more time overshadowing someone else. Maybe the job needs to be adjusted again. These check-ins must be aimed at evaluating progress, answering questions and ensuring that everyone is heading in the right direction. They should not grumble about how things are done (ie, your way).

6. Give honor.

One of the most important ways people enjoy working pleasure is getting credit and being rewarded for the good work they do. Make sure you give recognition where necessary and let the person know that they are doing a good job with their new delegated task. This is their role now and you want them to continue to feel it.

While the concept of losing control and trust can be scary, delegating responsibilities can help you grow your business and help happier employees. Delegation gives you more time to focus on larger agenda items, help employees acquire new skills and create a better working environment.

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