The Art of Delegation

By Mark Wardell

Delegation is one of the most important parts of management, though many managers and business owners don’t know how to do it well. To understand how important delegation is, think about this: When you don’t delegate, you’re essentially doing part of your employees’ jobs for them, on top of doing your own job.

Knowing how to delegate is an art that brings great success to those who do it well. In essence, it’s the ability to manage your own time effectively and be able to match up—almost psychically—what to delegate and to whom.

As a business leader, you should strive to make delegation an ingrained component of your business model—one that is built into your organizational chart. When you do this, you’ll have an organization that equips employees to be accountable and encourages people to think for themselves at all levels.

It begins with a mental switch.

What is your typical reaction when an employee approaches you with a question?

Do you pause before answering to consider whether or not that person should know the answer to their own question, or do you automatically answer in an effort to shoo them out of your office, ASAP, so you can get back to your own work?

If your goal is to own a business run by a team of accountable, productive employees, then you need to make a mental switch. And you can start the process the next time one of your employees approaches you with a question. Instead of answering, ask that person what they would do if you weren’t there and then tell them to go and do just that.

If you’re not yet convinced that delegation and accountability are critical to the success of your enterprise, consider the following facts:

  • A business simply cannot develop to its full potential unless it’s led by an effective management team, equipped to execute the business owner’s strategy and vision. In other words, the business owner needs to be able to delegate the most critical components of running the business in order to develop the enterprise.

  • Making delegation a part of the organizational chart is the best way to make sure that accountability and performance are ingrained in the team. In fact, this may be the only way a business owner will create the space and time needed to do the job effectively, while tracking the effectiveness of the team.

  • The best employees in the world are those who excel when they are given a stake in the company. We call these people the ‘A players.’ They don’t want to work in a place that holds them back; they relish accountability and performance.

  • A person who has never (or rarely) been delegated to, will never (or rarely) become a good delegator. People learn through experience. If this describes your situation, there are a number of effective techniques you can use to become a delegation expert. Though I don’t have space to go into specific details here, you can email my company with your questions.

  • Investment-quality businesses are not formed by talented people working in silos. They are created by talented people working as a team, each understanding their role in the big picture and each knowing they can rely on others to perform their duties effectively.

Convinced yet?

You may be wondering how exactly to implement accountability into your business’s organizational chart. Stay tuned. Next time, I’ll give you a step-by-step plan to map out an organizational chart that will work for your business, and keep on working!

Mark Wardell 2Mark is President & Founder of Wardell Professional Development , an advisory group that helps business owners plan and execute the growth of their companies. The author of seven business books, Mark also writes regularly for several national business publications, including Profit Magazine, the Globe and Mail, and CGA Magazine. Email him at [email protected]

By Adam

November 24, 2010