If you are like many small business owners, there may never seem to be enough hours in the day. Yet, once a company reaches a certain size, it can become increasingly difficult to rely solely on the efforts of one person alone to keep things running smoothly. Although you may realize that empowering your employees will free up some of your valuable time so you can attend to other aspects of the business, you want to be sure the quality of your company’s services doesn’t suffer. Given these concerns, delegating authority can be challenging.
If you think you could benefit by loosening the reins a bit, here are some suggestions to help make the process of delegating responsibility easier:
- Make gradual changes. A gradual transfer of power can help you gauge how much responsibility your employees are ready to take on, while providing you with the opportunity to develop your coaching skills. Even if you’re pressed for time, resist the urge to unload duties onto unprepared workers. A slow approach will help ensure your workers have adequate time to receive the necessary training to successfully assume their new duties.
- Select managers carefully. Choose individuals in whom you have confidence and who possess the skills and abilities to meet or exceed your expectations. Recognize that not everyone has the ability to be an effective manager. Although an employee may handle certain tasks well, he or she may not excel at supervising others.
- Clarify the scope of responsibility. One of the keys to a successful transition is to clarify the scope of the responsibility you are assigning. Is it for a specific task or a broad responsibility? Also, inform your new manager how much leeway he or she will have when carrying out the newly delegated duties.
- Support those you appoint. Allow time for everyone to adjust to the new chain of command. Once you delegate authority, announce the decision to your employees. Then, support your new manager, even if you must mediate disputes with employees who prefer doing things the “old way.” If you witness an employee trying to make an “end run” around the newly appointed manager, firmly reiterate your support.
- Be open to input. Strive for a balance between keeping things as they were when you were in charge, and giving your appointee a say in how things will be managed going forward. Try to welcome your new manager’s input if he or she brings in a fresh perspective.
- Let go. Once you see that your new manager is handling his or her authority well, let go. One of the greatest rewards of delegating responsibility is that it can free you up to shift your attention to larger business concerns.
Once a small business reaches a certain size, many owners find they can no longer handle all aspects of the business effectively. Delegating authority is a necessary skill to allow your business to flourish at this stage. These suggestions can help you learn to relinquish responsibility to others, adding more hours to your day and leaving you free to attend to the one job only you can handle—furthering your company’s growth.