Multiply Your Talents through the Skills of Others
By Dr. Paul E Adams
It is impossible to manage and grow your business unless you are willing to take the risk and let those fine souls you issue pay checks to assume responsibility and help you carry the burden of running your business. Only by learning to multiply your talents through the skills of others will you be a leader and a successful entrepreneur.
Having Trouble Delegating?
Is it your lack of trust in your employees, partners or consultants; your lack of patience; or do you subscribe to the phrase, “if you want something done right do it yourself?” Unless you are the only person in your business, reluctance to share the workload will cripple your company. It is foolhardy to think you can do everything yourself; you will collapse from exhaustion and your business will collapse with you.
Entrepreneurs with delegation problems tend to fall into two extremes: those who must do everything themselves known as “micro-managers” or those who are willing to turn everything over and take the afternoon off, trusting that the company will run smoothly. Either can lead to failure; delegation is best through moderation.
You will find that delegation is part personality and part ability. It is the sense to trust within reasonable limits, the ability to sort out priorities, assign responsibilities, and manage the activities of others. You will discover that successful delegation comes from the practice of clarity, reasonableness, patience, and interest in the outcome.
Improving Your Hiring Practices
Most home-based entrepreneurs will hire someone part-time or hire an independent contractor. If you have no faith in those you are hiring to do the job for you, don’t hire them; you are wasting your hard earned dollars and adding to your frustration level.
Assuming you have reasonably talented employees with an interest in their jobs, learning to delegate is straightforward. 1. Find someone to do the task. 2. Show the person what to do and how you want it done. 3. Check back to see if it was done and if it was done the way you instructed. Problems rise from assigning the task to the wrong person with fuzzy instructions and unrealistic expectations.
Starting to Delegate
If delegation is new to you, start by assigning activities that would produce minor consequences if gone awry. Compliment the successes (positive reinforcement works wonders) and when things go wrong, spend some time to find out why. As you free yourself from some of the daily tasks of your business, you are learning how to multiply your talents through others. You are delegating; you are getting things done through the actions of others. You are mastering the basics of management: Identify the task, identify the risk, turn over the task, review the results, and move on.
In time, delegation results in sharing the decision-making responsibility with your employees, creating a collective judgment that may result in better decisions. If you see yourself as a coach with a team of employees that will make your success possible, then listening to opinions can be valuable to you. If you respect the opinions of your employees, you may respect their judgment as well.
Extent of Delegation
How much you should delegate and involve your employees in deciding the issues of your company depends on the style of leadership you are most comfortable with. But, regardless of your fashion, there will always be some issues only you can decide. Generally, the larger the risk, the more the decision must be yours alone — but, the more you may need the thoughts of others.
However you see yourself as an entrepreneur, I believe if you learn to delegate, you will have a better chance of building a successful business. Do you recall the story of the man too busy fishing with a spear that he had no time to weave a net? HBM
Dr. Paul E Adams, Professor Emeritus, Business Administration, Ramapo College of New Jersey. Questions or comments write me: firstname.lastname@example.org