As company leader, every aspect of your business is ultimately under your control, but you can't control every single detail personally. The work tasks associated with managing a small company are daunting. Although you may be tempted to try, you can't do everything; as your business grows, you're going to need to delegate more duties to your employees to cover all the work. Allocating duties to your subordinates goes further than just getting the job done. When done well, delegation builds teamwork, empowers employees and encourages initiative.
Do not delegate things requiring so much explanation that it would be quicker to do it yourself, unless it is a teaching exercise meant to increase an employee's skill set -- which could certainly save you time in the long run. Also refrain from allocating important parts of critical projects that require your expertise and signature. Assignments containing confidential information are again not ones you generally want to delegate. You do, however, need to delegate duties that can be performed by subordinates to lighten your workload and to give them the opportunity to assume responsibility and control. Many times large projects can be delegated out to teams of employees, who can further divvy up roles as they learn how to manage and allocate as well. Consider what is best for company and remind yourself that accountability for operating your business ultimately remains in your hands.
One of your first considerations when assigning particular projects to your workers is who possesses the needed qualities to get the work accomplished. Look at your employees with a critical eye. Assess their abilities, both hard and soft skills, to decide who should get each assignment. For instance, you want to assign cold sales calls to employees who are thoroughly knowledgeable about your projects and services, and who also have natural charm and warm personalities. Give other jobs, such as identifying and solving issues with your company's payroll system, to highly technical employees who can perform detailed work but do not need a sparkling personality.
Energize and support your employees by allocating duties to teams of employees who then divvy up the workload themselves. This not only relieves individuals of the burden of a complicated set of tasks, but empowers these staff members to manage themselves. Collaboration increases creativity, accountability and problem solving. Put together diverse teams, such as pairing older and younger workers, people of different cultures and backgrounds, and employees with differing skill sets. This assures employees learn from one another, builds unity and helps avoid cliques of workers with similar backgrounds.
You need a clear head and a sound strategy when deciding how to divide up jobs for your employees. For example, you do not want to overload one employee with many tedious tasks that he cannot possibly perform in a single week while letting others slide through with fewer and more interesting work duties. You do, however, want to reward positive attitude and ambition in employees who display the desire to excel with engaging, meaningful work that will help teach them necessary skills, build self-confidence and guide them toward their goals.
When rushed or preoccupied with other matters, it is easy to forget your manners when allocating duties. For example, you might dump a laundry list of "to do" items on an administrative assistant's desk with a terse, "I'll need these finished today." This type of management does not endear you to your staff and can alienate them so that they lose the drive to perform at their best. Always take the time to use a polite tone, explain what needs to be done, express your appreciation of the staff member and help get him engaged in the project by explaining its importance and your belief that he can handle it.
The end result of the assignments you give to employees must be taken into account. You will have to take risks and trust your employees to handle their work, but you also need to communicate well so that your efforts and theirs are not compromised by a product that does not meet expectations. It is crucial not to micromanage by looking over shoulders and watching every move made, but you do need to follow up with specific checkpoints and give employees firm deadlines. Consider the nature of the assignment allocated and the proficiency of the designated employee when deciding how much directing, coaching and feedback is necessary. Anticipate questions from your less experienced workers and, if you are not getting them, find out why with a face-to-face conference. Allow your subordinates to grow and learn by making mistakes but be on hand to spot them and guide them in how to correct issues and problem solve. In the end, you will celebrate with them in their achievements.