How to Delegate

This article originally appeared on AndresManuelOlivaresMiranda.com on Nov. 14, 2017.

One of the pitfalls of powerful technology is the belief among entrepreneurs that they can do more than one person should. While the newest technologies are no doubt useful and can amplify the average human’s productivity in ways that nothing else can, people do have limits. There are none who are capable of doing it all themselves, and this is why business owners in particular need to develop strong delegation skills.

At its core, the value of delegation is its ability to amplify the creativity and talent of a company’s principles. Skilled people are best left to those things they do best. As the military will tell you, if a three-star general is parking jeeps, the unit has a leadership issue. A major element of good leadership is delegating.

Plan and Document

Many great decisions are rendered either impossible to implement or impossible to evaluate by bad documentation. In a large enterprise, the rank and file need to know how something is supposed to work even if management plans to delegate responsibilities effectively. Documentation is the key to company-wide knowledge.

This is really no different than a project plan. A good plan is one you can hand to someone and without another word, be confident they can build whatever is on the page. The same is true of planning delegation. Unless the person taking orders knows management’s goals, effectiveness will suffer.

Communication

While most companies try to avoid the dreaded meeting overload, regular communication is the key to effective delegation. Management needs to clearly communicate objectives and a plan for achieving them. Workers need to report to management and request assistance with obstacles or uncertainty.

Poor communication leads to delays and mistakes, two things which instantly add to the cost of any task, no matter how humble or simple it might be. Businesses that don’t control their costs become former businesses in short order, so this is something management has to make a maximum priority.

Technology

While it isn’t necessarily a good substitute for proper delegation, technology can be an excellent accessory, especially when it comes to documentation and scheduling. Numerous types of technology can be used to orchestrate large teams working on complex projects, and one of their major advantages is the fact they automatically document most of the details your team is going to need to plan and evaluate the project.

It should be noted the same technology can create a temptation to over-manage and micro-manage. These two tendencies should be avoided. If the responsibility for a project is delegated, the power to implement the solution must also be delegated. Responsibility without power is a scapegoat. Power without responsibility is tyranny.

The purpose of delegation is always to amplify the talents of your team. Used in this way, it will improve and grow your productivity as well.

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