Friday, 28 October 2016 14:33

Do You Delegate Tasks To Focus on Growth?

Sooner or later, every CEO or business owner comes to the realization that they can’t do everything themselves. Some “get it” quickly and set about recruiting and grooming a team of talented managers and employees to handle the tasks needed to keep the business running. Others refuse to let go of their power and status, discovering too late that they’ve squandered their precious time and energy on tasks that had nothing to do with securing the future of the business.

From our experience in the hardwood lumber business, we have come to believe strongly in the value of a full team effort! Our leaders are encouraged to practice the “art of delegation”—and we’re always looking for ways to improve the process.

Hardwood cherry logsHere are three types of tasks that we ask our department leaders to consider delegating within their teams:

  1. Administrative tasks. Certain administrative tasks can be extremely time-consuming. While they’re important to maintaining business operations, they’re not usually related to growing the business. These should be among the first duties a business leader should assign to others.
  2. Work that others can do better than you. A genuinely effective business leader has moved past the conviction that “No one can do things as well as I can.” He or she has recruited talented employees specifically because they have skills and experience better suited to certain aspects of the business—and can be relied upon to get the job done.

    “If you fervently believe you’re the only one who can do something right or well, you’ll never trust anyone else to do it,” notes veteran startup founder H.O. Maycotte, “even when your business stands to benefit.”

  3. Tasks that sap your energy and passion. There was a time when you were obligated to handle job responsibilities that held little meaning for you. It might have been payroll, finance, HR functions, etc. Such tasks should be delegated as quickly as possible to the appropriate employee or team of employees, so you’re not further involved in activities that drain your vision and passion.

As you identify job responsibilities that fall into the categories listed above, it’s a good time to refine your ability to delegate efficiently:

Match the responsibility with the right person. Look for the best person within the organization to take on a specific task. If you don’t know who that is, give instructions to the appropriate department manager to identify that individual, both to take on that task and so you know who’s stepping up to handle additional responsibilities.

Accept that mistakes will happen. Some business leaders refuse to delegate because they’re convinced someone else will “botch” the job. Inevitably, mistakes happen, but that’s a part of the delegation process and your employee development process as long as it is turned into a learning opportunity.

“Failure is a part of growth, and too many leaders micromanage out of fear,” notes business owner Michael Parrella. “This type of toxic leadership prevents the team from taking true ownership and caring deeply about their work.”

Clearly define your expectations. Delegating is a great first step, but it’s critical to define your expectations about the scope of the responsibility and when you want to a specific task completed. When you ask someone for assistance, give them all the information and resources they need to do the work correctly. After all, helping others succeed is a key part of leadership—regardless of the company or industry involved.

In the hardwood business, we all need good leaders. We need leaders to manage the sawmills, the lumber yards, the lumber buyers, the sales team and many other departments. One person cannot do it all. We realized that the best leaders understand that delegating effectively results in a win-win situation. When you do it right, “you have more time for other, higher prioritized tasks,” allowing “other people in the team [to] grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organization.”

What other suggestions do you have when it comes to task delegation? We look forward to hearing from you.

Tony Cimorelli
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