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Effective Delegation – 5 Lessons for Entrepreneurial Growth

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Effective Delegation
Effective delegation is an important technique for growing any entrepreneurial company. It is the secret used by successful entrepreneurs to multiply their impact and create extraordinary outcomes. Sadly, effective delegation is one of the most misunderstood and abused concepts in entrepreneurial leadership. Far too many entrepreneurs demonstrate hard times delegating.

To multiply performance and result, you need effective delegation in your leadership toolbox. The reason effective delegation don’t work for many is because of what I refer to as “Rugged Individualistic” mentality. This is the belief that you are the only best candidate for the tasks or role you perform. In other words, no one else can do the job better in the company.

It is okay to specialize and be the best in a small area of capability and passion. But that alone does not make you a champion in areas where you have less capability, passion or interest.

Overcoming Frustrations in Effective Delegation

To accelerate performance, entrepreneurs need to develop relationships with people they can trust to do what they’re not good at. Practically speaking, that’s not easy because entrepreneurs are highly creative by nature. Oftentimes, creativity and the crave for perfection inhibits them from letting go control. As a result, they do not always reach their entrepreneurial goals.

Here are the 5 lessons about how you can start delegating to maximize your performance.

1. Delegate to the right person

The first puzzle to resolve to delegate effectively is overcoming the sentiment around familiarity. When delegating, look out for someone in your team having the right skill, passion, and motivation for the project. It is counter-productive to delegate to unskilled people on grounds of friendship or familiarity. Your odds of achieving greater productivity are higher if you work on your Unique Strength, and delegate everything else to people with the right skills to handle the tasks.

2. Delegate results, not activities

Be clear about the outcomes you want to produce before delegating. Brainstorm the exact results you want, then communicate it to the team. It is safer to communicate in writing, followed by group discussion to clarify any misconception. When delegating, be sure to delegate results, not activities; and the easiest way to do that is through superb communication. Spend quality time to talk through the project with your team. Create a vivid image in their minds about the specific outcomes you want them to achieve. Being upfront about your results and communicating them vividly is crucial for the team to develop a plan to deliver the result.

3. Assign a timeline

A timeline is a period when you want the results of your project to be delivered by. You need to bear in mind that everyone works differently when setting a deadline. The fact that you can spend lesser time on a task does not mean your best talents could do the same. Someone could spend a whole day on a task you spent only 60 minutes to accomplish. With that in mind, make a buffer for learning on the job. Involve your team in determining a realistic timeline, provide everything they would need to achieve the result and get out of their way to perform.

4. Determine appropriate authority level

Authority is something entrepreneurs hold dear. In practice, delegation hardly succeeds without a delegated authority. Since delegation is a relationship of trust, you need to determine how much control your team needs to produce the result, and empower them to deliver. Let’s say the project involves a budget, determine who would make the decision and authorize the spend? Consider if you want your team to revert to you every now and then for approval until they accomplish the project.

5. Track, measure and feedforward

The importance of communicating your expected outcome in 2 above is to have a basis to review and measure what has been done. The track, measure and feedforward phase is crucial and needs to be handled objectively. If your team delivers to specification, reward them lavishly. But in practice, the first submission does not always meet the standard, and that’s okay. Do not blame, complain or tell them what they did wrong when that occurs. Instead, create a feedforward loop by asking: “How can you make this result exactly as we wanted?”

The next time you delegate, use the 5 lessons factors above to dramatically enhance your leadership and improve your performance. As you do that, you’ll notice an incredible improvement in your team’s overall performance and result. Remember, the goal of effective delegation is for you and your team to become more effective at what you do best.

Finally, effective delegation thrives on trust. The more you practice and receive feedback from your team, the more you are effectively engaging and mobilizing them to act. Suddenly, your productivity jumps and relationship improves.

Key Lessons on Effective Delegation

  • Beginning from today, think about assignments, tasks or projects you don’t have great capability to handle.
  • Determine why the task is important, describe how you want the ideal end result to appear, and how you would know if it were successful.
  • Brainstorm Who in your team has the skill to handle the project? Invite him/her over for briefing and handover.

Let me know what you think.

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About the author

Since 2010, Nkem Mpamah has been assisting entrepreneurs and corporate leaders to improve performance, create sustainable competitiveness, and maximize profit. Nkem is the founder and Chief Executive of Cognition Global Concepts (CGC).

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