POST WRITTEN BY Expert Panel, Forbes Coaches Council
Delegation is a necessary practice for entrepreneurs, who juggle countless responsibilities each day. However, not every business owner is comfortable handing over their reins to team members, regardless of how much they might trust their workers.
Letting go of control over certain areas of your business might make you feel uneasy, but it’s crucial to giving yourself more time to improve and grow your brand. To help you, our expert panel of Forbes Coaches Council members offered their best advice for entrepreneurs who don’t like to delegate.
1. Start Small And Check In Early
Trusting someone else with your baby (business) is not always easy. Start building the muscle of delegation by delegating small tasks to your team, but check in early in the process to make sure they are on track. Your teammates will appreciate your trust, and you will free up your time to focus on other areas for the good of everyone. – Billy Williams, Archegos
2. Delegate Your Least Favorite Thing
Identify the areas you feel least confident about (or interested in) doing yourself. The best way to encourage delegation is to focus on an area where you don’t have expertise because these tend to be projects you will more willingly relinquish control over and be somewhat forced to develop trust in others because you don’t have the time or skills manage it directly or effectively. – Tonya Echols, Thrive Coaching Solutions
3. Check Your Ego At The Door
I often ask over-involved leaders to explore the trick their ego may be playing. Holding onto work that others could and should be doing can be a sign of coming from a “better than” place. It can look to others like an arrogance or ego that is seemingly demeaning and dismissive to others. If that is not their intention, and it most often is not, this new self-awareness can shift their perspective. – Julie Colbrese, Hot Coffee Coaching
4. Treat Delegating As A Leadership Activity
Leaders who avoid delegating often are looking at it as a management activity, rather than a leadership activity. Our role as leaders is to provide learning and growth opportunities to stretch team members. If our people don’t make mistakes, we’re not providing challenging situations for them to learn and grow. Change your thoughts and beliefs about delegating and it will be easier to let go. – Laurie Sudbrink, Unlimited Coaching Solutions, Inc.
5. Ask Yourself If You Want Control Or Growth
Many entrepreneurs don’t grow because they are unwilling to get out of their own way. Their way often focuses on control, micromanagement and oversight. After all, that’s how they got to where they are, so they often believe it will be how they get to “the next level.” But therein lies the problem. If the entrepreneur wants to grow, it’s imperative they trust others. – John M. O’Connor, Career Pro Inc.
6. Figure Out What You‘re ‘Getting Paid’ To Do
Frame delegation with this perspective: What do you get paid to do? Many entrepreneurs spend their time completing tasks others are paid to do and could do more efficiently — if given the opportunity. List what only you can accomplish and what is the most valuable way to spend your day. If you are bootstrapping, this becomes even more critical: What are you paid to do — or not? – Leila Bulling Towne, The Bulling Towne Group, LLC
7. Conduct A SWOT Analysis
So often, I coach entrepreneurs who want to hold on to everything because they “love what they do and don’t mind long hours.” But a funny thing happens when they do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats) analysis. The realization that they can’t focus on the prize if they are doing all the jobs is an eye-opener. You have to let go to focus on your own ROI. – Laura DeCarlo, Career Directors International
8. Practice Delegation As A Daily Habit
Good habits are hard to create, and creating a good habit starts with awareness. First, take three minutes at the end of each day and jot down what tasks/projects you worked on that day that you could have delegated. Do this for a couple of weeks and this will give you a list of things to delegate going forward. Then figure out who has the skill, time and passion to do that task well. – Cindy Pogrund, Paradigm Pursuits
9. Consider The Cost Of Delegation Versus The Potential Business Gains
Make a list of all the things you do. Methodically ask your HR manager, or research yourself, what the hourly cost would be to hire a person to do the job. For example, if you like to do the bookkeeping, the hourly rate might be $35 an hour. Now, identify where your time is best spent. You can spend three hours networking at an event where you close a deal for $3,000 — that’s $1,000 an hour. – Rick Itzkowich, Vistage Chair San Diego
10. Match Your Tasks To Your Team
To gain comfort with delegating, do your best to match the task or skill to a team member who either has that skill set or who would like to grow into that skill and get practice doing that task. This will not only ease your workload and burden, it will also help develop your people and show them that you as the leader care about their professional growth and illustrates how much you value them. – Lisa Downs, Downs Leadership
11. Create Standard Operating Procedures
There are three things that hold a person back from delegating and letting go of the reins. First, perfectionism and the need for it to be exactly right. Second, control and the need to micromanage all steps of every activity. Third, the fear of unknown. All of this is helped by creating a standard operating procedure document for every job, post and task. – Tracy Repchuk, InnerSurf Online Brand & Web Services
12. Experiment And Evaluate
Experiment by delegating one small task that has little consequence using this recipe for success: Give clear directions, set clear expectations, define timing, and assess the results: How did you feel before delegating and after? What worked? What didn’t? What will you do differently? Now, do it again and each time you refine your experience, you reduce risk and build successes. – Christine J. Culbertson (Boyle), Coach Christine: Building Business, Leaders and BIG Lives
Forbes Coaches Council is an invitation-only, fee-based organization comprised of leading business coaches and career coaches. Find out if you qualify at forbescoachescouncil.com/qualify.