There are many reasons why people go into business. For some, building something from scratch and seeing it grow is a welcome challenge. For others, it’s the opportunity to be their own boss and set their own hours. And for others still, it’s the chance to turn a passion into a profession.
But regardless of the reason, maintaining that passion becomes harder the busier you get. As such, one thing all businesses end up having in common is the need for delegation. Delegation is essential because it allows business owners to focus on the most critical tasks while handing off responsibility to employees or contractors.
Delegation can be difficult for some business owners, requiring trust and confidence in others. But with proper communication and clear expectations, delegation can be the key to success.
The Founder’s Role in a Business
The founder’s role is critical in the early stages of a company’s development, as they are responsible for putting together a team, raising capital, and building a product or service. Founders often wear many hats in the early days of a startup, but as the company grows, they typically transition into more of a strategic and creative role, focusing on vision and long-term growth.
This latter transition can quickly become overwhelming without the appropriate delegation strategies. Because founders sacrifice a bird’s eye view of their business within its starting year, getting back on track often requires a lot of work—sometimes too much.
Why Delegation is the Answer
So, what is a business founder to do when they’ve successfully overcome the company’s birthing pains? If business founders are captains, they need time to steer their ship, so to speak. But how? The simple answer is delegation.
While delegation may seem dull or an excuse to get out of work, it is the ticket to getting to the parts of your business that need you the most. There are plenty of reasons to delegate, including:
- Allowing you to focus on more important tasks: By delegating tasks to others, you can free up your time to focus on more critical aspects of your job.
- Improving efficiency: Delegating tasks can help improve your team’s overall efficiency by allowing different team members to focus on tasks that match their strengths.
- Developing team skills: Delegating tasks can also help to promote skill development, putting existing expertise into practice and gaining experience in different areas.
- Stress reduction: Simply put, overwork leads to burnout. By evening out workloads, you prevent employees from becoming stressed and even increase motivation by evening out workloads.
Ultimately, delegation should be an adventure. Use it to draw joy and fulfilment from the aspects of your business that give your experience meaning. When you leave time for yourself, you can take the challenge of top-level decision-making by its horns.
Now and again, you can always touch base with the sides of your business you started with while enabling employees to unlock their full potential.
How Does Delegating Work?
To better understand how delegation works, you’ll also need to familiarise yourself with why it fails. Firstly, some business managers prefer not to delegate work, perhaps for the following reasons.
- Control: As a business founder, you may feel you need a sense of control over every aspect of your company. After all, it was your idea, and you’ve invested in your expertise and technical skill set—giving it up can feel unfamiliar and daunting.
- Time: Sometimes, delegation can feel like it takes more time than doing the task yourself. Especially when deadlines are looming, it can be tempting to shackle down and dive into things headfirst.
- Guilt: If you don’t have positional authority over someone, delegating work to them can itch at your conscience. No one wants to feel like they’re “dumping” work on colleagues.
- Trust: When working with new hires who lack the skill level or experience to perform specific tasks, confidently delegating jobs to them can feel impossible. Alternatively, perhaps you simply trust yourself more than you do others.
- Failure: All business founders fear failure. Failure is often the most significant psychological driver for dozens of business decisions. Perhaps taking on every task yourself feels less of a risk.
- Attachment: Yes, it’s entirely possible to become emotionally invested in a project. Especially if you’ve crafted a specific vision and outcome, delegating it to someone else who may potentially take it in a different direction can feel risky or unnecessary.
The Pillars of Delegation
Overcoming the initial desire not to delegate can be challenging, but you’ll find that it has its rewards. Before deep-diving into your delegation program, let’s take a closer look at what it entails.
Below are the three pillars of delegation and how they play into your overarching strategy.
This pillar refers to the overall responsibility that you delegate to someone else. It includes ensuring that the task is carried out correctly and that any resulting consequences are dealt with.
This pillar refers to the power or ability you delegate to someone else. It allows these point persons to make decisions and take action on your behalf.
This pillar refers to the accountability that you have for the actions taken by someone else. It means that you are responsible for any negative or positive outcomes that result from their efforts.
By keeping these pillars in mind, you can ensure that your delegation is successful and that you retain the appropriate level of control over your team or organisation.
The Dos and Don’ts of Delegation
Understanding the principles behind delegation is just one of many steps to closing projects efficiently. Part of knowing how to delegate is also knowing how not to. Here are a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind.
- DO delegate tasks to the right people: Match people to tasks according to their skill sets, experience, and preference.
- DO set clear expectations: Get specific. Agree upon set deadlines and establish completion criteria. Give employees an idea of what you consider successful.
- DO offer support: Delegating a specific task doesn’t mean you remove yourself from it entirely—welcome questions and clarifications. Offer support whenever necessary.
- DO hold people accountable: Transferring authority is a big deal, so having people responsible for their tasks is imperative. You don’t want to micromanage, but you don’t want to be too hands-off either.
- DON’T micromanage: Giving up control for the first time is never easy on any business manager. However, checking in too frequently can put unnecessary pressure on employees and even decrease their overall productivity.
- DON’T overload employees: Just because someone is the best fit for a particular task doesn’t guarantee they have the time to do it. Review each team member’s workload before assigning additional tasks.
- DON’T be vague about your expectations: While you can always leave a little room for adjustment when assigning tasks, don’t be too vague about what your expectations are.
- DON’T be closed off to new ideas: If you’re used to doing things a certain way, change can always come as a surprise. However, delegation is not allocation. When you delegate tasks, you transfer ownership of the assignment to someone else. In the end, you might even learn to approach specific business needs in ways you never considered.
- DON’T take back work after delegating it: Even if things aren’t going according to plan, taking back work after delegating it can cause further delays. Instead, offer the appropriate support and allow trusted employees to prove themselves.
The Two W’s of Delegation
Part of the delegation process is understanding who to delegate to and when. You can think of it as a game of strategy: engaging options and allocating resources in a way that leads to best results.
When Should You Delegate Tasks?
Naturally, the best time to delegate tasks is when you feel overburdened by them. However, it’s common for business founders to bear the brunt of the work, especially when they feel obliged. So, how do you know when to delegate tasks?
First, think about whether or not the task is something you have time to do yourself, realistically. If it is something that will take up a significant amount of your time and energy, it may be worth delegating to someone else.
Second, consider whether or not the task is something you feel comfortable delegating. There may be some tasks that you feel more comfortable handling yourself or are ultimately better equipped to handle. If this is the case, keeping the job for yourself may be best.
Third, think about whether or not the person you would delegate the task to is capable of completing it effectively. If they are not, it may be best to find someone else who can do the job or do the task yourself.
Finally, when in doubt, it is often best to ask the person you would like to delegate the task to if they are willing and able to do it. This way, there is no confusion or misunderstanding about your expectations of them.
Whom Should You Delegate Tasks To?
How well your team executes an assignment depends on whom you delegate tasks to.
Here are some critical criteria to consider when choosing someone to delegate work to:
- Ability: First and foremost, your chosen appointee should be capable of completing the task given. Consider whether they have the necessary skills and knowledge to do the job.
- Motivation: The person you delegate to should also be motivated to complete the task. They should be excited about taking on the challenge and willing to put in the necessary effort.
- Trustworthiness: Choosing someone you trust to complete the task and follow through on their commitments is essential. Consider their track record for past assignments—it need not be perfect but should be reliable and promising.
- Availability: The person you delegate to should also be available to complete the task promptly. Avoid delegating tasks to people who have their plates full or very little room to accommodate other assignments.
- Communication skills: Finally, the person you delegate to should have good communication skills. Choose people you know will be vocal should they need assistance.
How Delegation Fits Within Your Training Program
Formal employee training is a process through which businesses provide employees with structured learning opportunities to improve their skills and knowledge. These programs can occur in-person or online and may be spearheaded by you, the employer, or an external provider.
Why it works: Formal employee training can benefit businesses by improving employee productivity, increasing job satisfaction, and reducing turnover. Additionally, well-trained employees are better equipped to handle customer inquiries and complaints, ultimately improving customer satisfaction in the long run.
When designing a formal training program, businesses should consider the needs of their employees and the specific goals they hope to achieve. You should tailor programs to each organisation’s unique needs and choose delivery methods based on employees’ preferences.
Where it falls short: There are several reasons formal training programs are often ineffective. One reason is that they can be too theoretical and not practical enough. Employees may learn concepts but not how to apply them in the real world. Additionally, formal training programs can be repetitive and boring, leading to employee disengagement. Finally, traditional training programs can be expensive, and companies may not see a return on their investment.
Learning Management Systems (LMS)
Employers use learning management systems (LMS) to train employees for various reasons. You can use an LMS to deliver educational content, assess employee understanding, and ensure that employees can complete training courses on time. Additionally, an LMS can provide employers with valuable data about employee engagement and performance.
Why it works: An LMS can support multiple formats, including video, audio, text, and images. Employees can access this content at their convenience, allowing them to learn at their own pace. If necessary, you can use an LMS to quiz your employees, using this information to improve the quality of future training courses.
Why it falls short: Because LMSs are designed to be used by many people, they can sometimes be impersonal, making training material less engaging. In the same threat, employees may not receive the individualised attention they need. LMSs are also expensive. While the upfront cost of purchasing an LMS may not be prohibitive, the ongoing costs of maintaining and updating the system can be. Finally, LMSs can be complex and confusing, making it difficult for employees to navigate the system and find the specific training modules they need.
Video software can be beneficial for training employees in that employers can create engaging and informative content that is easily accessible. Additionally, video software effectively develops customised training programs specific to the employer’s needs.
Why it works: Using video software to train employees is often far more engaging than reading materials or organising lectures. When employees feel engaged, they are more likely to retain information for longer. In addition, video software is convenient and cost-effective—it eliminates the need to travel on-site.
Why it falls short: Depending on the complexity of the video you want to produce, some software is expensive to purchase and maintain. In addition, video software may not provide the interactivity you get with in-person training.
The Ultimate Delegation Solution: Vidstep
Now that you are well-versed in the basics of delegation, it’s time to incorporate your most powerful solution: Vidstep. Marrying Vidstep with your three primary learning programs (formal training, LMS, and video software) can make the delegation process more manageable, sustainable, and error-free.
But isn’t Vidstep like any other video creation software? The answer is no—there is so much more to Vidstep, making it the ideal choice for employee training.
If your delegation process could use a productivity boost or structure overhaul, here are a few reasons Vidstep is the answer.
Custom-Built for Delegation
First and foremost, Vidstep has one focus: simplifying the delegation process for business owners. Unlike video software with a never-ending list of features and functions, Vidstep is tailor-made for businesses looking for the most effective training methods. Rest assured that every Vidstep function has a place in your business.
Easy to Learn and Use
Because Vidstep does not have a steep learning curve, it’s ideal for use within fast-paced industries that often change overnight. Its user-friendly features take only a few minutes to study and can make on-the-go training less of a challenge.
By breaking your video instructions into steps, Vidstep leaves little room for ambiguity and ensures employees know precisely what they need to do. Plus, you are less likely to overload employees with information, providing concise data they need at the moment.
Accessible at Any Time
Could your team use an information refresher? Not a problem—they can access instructions on Vidstep anytime. Employees can review specific sections if they need clarification or want to ensure they fully understand something. Additionally, video instructions can be used as a reference tool long after the initial training is completed.
Shows Instead of Telling
Most people are visual learners, so incorporating talking heads and lots of text into your training program won’t fly. Don’t risk the chance of boring your employees—they won’t be likely to retain any information. Instead, use Vidstep to show instead of telling.
Especially if your business involves many equipment demonstrations, you’ll be better off enabling employees to visualize this—not put something conceptually into action.
Reduces Errors by Unifying Information
When team members are not on the same page, your project risks becoming error-filled. With Vidstep, you can consolidate videos in a single, unified interface and put them in front of the right people.
How to Use Vidstep to Delegate Tasks
Ultimately, Vidstep shouldn’t replace your delegation program. Instead, using it as a support tool can take your business further than if you rely on it entirely for training. Get the best use out of Vidstep by keeping these tips in mind.
Know What Videos to Create
Simply put, you can’t Vidstep everything. Instead, you’ll want to create video instructions for tasks that are:
- Urgent: If a task takes up too much of your time and needs immediate attention, consider it critical and delegate it.
- Important: The more team members know how to perform essential tasks, the more you can rely on them to complete similar assignments in the future.
- Hard to understand: Perhaps you can’t take on a task yourself and require assistance. Use Vidstep to explain how it’s done.
Outline Your Videos
Since you’re producing video instructions, you might mistakenly believe you must write a script before you shoot your footage. Contrary to popular belief, while often helpful, scripts can also make your video instructions too specific, inflexible, and convoluted.
Instead, stick to outlines with key ideas. Doing so will make accommodating changes in the future easier. After all, you never know when you’ll have to explain a software update or equipment change.
Have Basic Equipment at the Ready
You don’t need fancy equipment to use Vidstep. At the most, you’ll need:
- A camera: Most of the time, a smartphone will do. As long as you can clearly demonstrate a process, you shouldn’t need to invest in a DSLR or more complex equipment. Additionally, you can use Vidstep’s screen recording feature to explain how to use specific software.
- A tripod or stabiliser: If recording fieldwork, use a tripod or stabiliser to prevent shaky video.
- A microphone: Leave no room for misinterpretation by using a high-quality microphone and speaking clearly.
The Bottom Line
If you are a business owner who needs to start delegating tasks, the first step is to re-examine your processes and learn the best way to delegate. It may take time, but finding the right administrative techniques and investing in them can take your business a long way forward.
In addition, introducing Vidstep as your primary delegation tool can make it easier for employees to learn, retain information, and remain engaged. Once you get into the swing of things, delegation should come to you naturally, and your business will have nowhere else to go but up!