The art of delegation - how to do it, why to do it and when to do it

by Yasmin McGlashan on 22nd Aug 2023

Delegation. It’s an essential part of running a business, but in the early days it can be a tricky concept to master. When your business is your baby and you’ve been working solo for any length of time, suddenly having to trust another person with any part of it can feel like a huge step to take (because it is!). 

Delegation is often seen as simply handing your workload over to someone else - a ‘perk’ of being the boss. But effective delegation is so much more than this. It involves the ability to effectively split the task up, and give the sections to people who have the skillset to handle it best. 

Why delegate?

There’s a multitude of reasons why learning to delegate effectively can benefit your business and your team - the most obvious being that it can massively enhance your productivity, both individually and as a team! When every member of your team is focusing on tasks that are within their skillset and that they feel confident with, it can also lead to a huge increase in team morale - wouldn’t you want to spend your day focusing on tasks that you’re confident in your ability to complete to a high standard?

As well as increasing productivity and boosting morale, delegating to your team can also be an excellent opportunity to develop new skills and encourage growth - consistently gently pushing the limits of your team's existing skills can encourage them to expand their knowledge which can, in time, lead to a more skilled and more adaptable workforce. However the key here is to not push to boundaries excessively -  if your team is consistently left feeling frustrated because they don’t know how to complete a task, this is only going to demotivate them. 

As well as the benefits to your team, delegation can be of personal benefit by helping to reduce stress and the potential for burnout. By delegating tasks effectively, you can free up time for strategic decision-making and higher-level responsibilities, leading to a healthier work-life balance and increased job satisfaction. Despite the advantages, we often see business owners with psychological barriers when it comes to delegation and outsourcing, including a fear of losing control, a lack of trust in the ability of others to do the job to the same level as themselves, and concerns about accountability. 

How to delegate

So now you know why delegating is a good idea - it’s probably helpful to understand how to actually do it!

If you know your team and their skills well, then learning to delegate can be as simple as understanding how to break a task down. The first step is to do just that - break the task down into chunks that make sense, and are small enough to pass on to other people without it feeling overwhelming for them in comparison to their existing workload. 

Then, identify the people in your team with the skills that best match each part of the task - if you’ve got someone who’s a numbers whizz then giving them the task of creating graphics is unlikely to play to their strengths. Depending on the timescale, this may also be an opportunity for members of the team to develop skills that they’ve been interested in furthering - giving them a task that they don’t currently know how to do, but are keen to learn can prove to be a great opportunity when the timescales allow. 

The biggest challenge of effective delegation is communication - being able to clearly communicate what needs to be done, and when it needs doing by, are key factors in your team feeling in control when it comes to an enhanced workload. It’s only fair to prepare them with all the information about what they’re being asked to do and when it should be done to ensure that the task as a whole is completed on time and without confusion. 

When to delegate

At first delegating a task is often seen by business owners as a last resort - something that they’ll only do if they absolutely can’t fit it into their time, or it’s something they don’t have the time or ability to learn how to do. While in theory there’s nothing wrong with this, it can mean that you risk burning out or that tasks end up getting missed or forgotten because you’ve got so much else on your plate. 

Delegating can be a wise choice when there’s someone in your team that has the skill and/or knowledge to complete the task more effectively than you - if you’re aiming to give the client the best possible experience then having a well rounded team and knowing when to pass tasks to them is only ever going to be a good thing! 

If the task isn’t time critical, then delegating a task to a member of the team because they’ve expressed an interest in learning that particular skill can also be a good thing. It can be wise to keep this to ‘lower stakes’ tasks, such as those without an immediate deadline or internal tasks rather than those for higher maintenance clients. 

Delegation without a team

If you’re reaching the point where you’re running out of time in your day, but you haven’t yet got a team to delegate tasks to - or your team doesn't have the skills needed to complete the tasks that need to be done, outsourcing is simply delegating to someone outside of your team!

The benefit of outsourcing is that the person you pick will have the skills to complete the task immediately - you won’t have to worry about bringing them up to speed on the system you’re using, or find time to train them - it’s often as simple as explaining the task and letting them know the deadline. 

If you’re running out of hours in the day, or finding it difficult to delegate, then why not have a chat with me and see how my team can help? Whether it’s getting a handle on your tech, social media and marketing, business admin or a mixture of it all, we’re happy to take it off your plate and make running your business a less stressful experience. Just book a call href="" style="box-sizing: inherit; margin: var(--artdeco-reset-base-margin-zero); padding: var(--artdeco-reset-base-padding-zero); font-size: var(--artdeco-reset-base-font-size-hundred-percent); vertical-align: var(--artdeco-reset-base-vertical-align-baseline); background-color: var(--artdeco-reset-link-background-color-transparent); text-decoration: var(--artdeco-reset-link-text-decoration-none); font-weight: var(--font-weight-bold); border: var(--artdeco-reset-link-border-zero); touch-action: manipulation; overflow-wrap: break-word;">here, and I'd be happy to chat.


Are you wondering about networking but feeling nervous about it?

Our FREE guide will help you to feel comfortable and confident when networking - even if you're an introvert!

Download your FREE guide now