Many business leaders understand the importance of delegation. But delegation isn’t always easy. Some contend it’s in the psychological makeup of business leaders to insist on doing (or trying to do) everything themselves - or at least insist on overseeing how others get things done.
Here at American Lumber, we are constantly reminding ourselves f the importance and value of proper delegation. We work hard to leverage best practices in this area and constantly monitor our efforts to prevent ineffective leadership techniques.
If you are looking for ways to delegate better within your team environment perhaps these best practices might work for you.
- Accept you cannot do everything yourself. Effective delegation starts by acknowledging no single individual can complete or oversee all the tasks involved in running a successful business. This doesn’t have anything to do with personal shortcomings. Rather, it’s facing the simple truth that your company will suffer if you (or another high-level executive) lacks the ability to delegate wisely.
- Look to hire the best. Some industry experts will tell you that you do not want to be the smartest person on the team. Hopefully you hired people that know more about the specific topic than you and you can let them do their thing! When this is the case, the next logical step involves delegating to them and trusting they will do what is right. For us in the hardwood lumber industry that means empowering green lumber buyers to buy, our sawyers to saw the most value our of a log and kiln operators to properly dry lumber so our customers get the best product possible.
- Set clear expectations. It’s not enough to simply tell an employee, “Here, you go and take care of this task.” For delegation to succeed, it’s necessary to outline and communicate your expectations. When necessary, put your expectations in writing, so there’s less room for confusion and disappointment when the task is completed.
- Tool your employees with the resources needed. Delegation only works if employees have access to the tools and resources needed to get a job done. This might entail extending authority to an individual to request key resources that might not fall under his or her area of command. It is a good idea to make sure all employees and departments involved understand an individual is authorized to complete a task at your request.
- Acknowledge and promote positive outcomes. When the art of delegation is successful don’t let the process come to an end without a positive public acknowledgement of the individuals or teams efforts. To encourage further voluntary participation it helps to thank the individuals involved and let others in the company know how the process worked. Empowering individuals to assume greater responsibility is also a very useful retention tool.
Do you have any other best practices about delegation to share? Let us know!