Running a small business can get overwhelming, especially as your business starts growing. Most small business owners often start as a one-person show or a partnership, but when demand increases, it may be time to turn to other employees for support. In a study on role overload, researchers found that entrepreneurs delegate tasks to reduce being overwhelmed by their role’s workload. A significant finding is that while delegation did help reduce role overload in the short term, they also needed to empower the delegated team members to achieve long-term effectiveness.
As such, while delegation can help boost your small business growth, it’s important to still keep a people-centered focus as you delegate. Below are three delegation strategies you should look into as a small business owner to effectively manage your operations and empower your team.
Identifying the right tasks
Results from a survey of 1,000 small business owners in the US found that 42% of small business owners experienced burnout in 2022. As a result, one in five business owners said they planned to delegate more responsibilities to their team to prioritize their mental well-being and work-life balance. That said, before you can delegate tasks and projects to your employees, it’s important that you take the time to determine which tasks are suitable for delegating.
To delegate effectively, identify the tasks you would rather not do and which do not require your level of expertise. That way, you can redirect your time and resources to tasks that are of higher priority. At the same time, identify your employees’ strengths and weaknesses to determine where or to whom the tasks should be delegated. For instance, if you find that your social media marketing efforts are taking up much of your time despite being relatively simple, it might be worth reassigning that task to somebody else, like a community manager or an intern who’s tech-savvy. Understanding your team members is a key part of identifying tasks so that you can ensure they are completed effectively.
Choosing the right employees
Once you’ve identified the tasks that you can delegate, you now have to find and choose the right people to assign them to. These employees will likely be those you want to train for leadership positions. In a growing team and small business, this makes hiring the right team members a challenge. Despite the labor shortage, the unemployment rate recently dropped to 5.2%, tightening the talent pools nationwide. To ensure that the team members you onboard are right for you and your role, start with employees who can fill talent gaps in your business. For many small business owners, that starts with finding and delegating to an employee who can help with some of the managerial-level responsibilities.
One such employee worth considering is the project manager. The role of the small business owner is intertwined with the responsibilities of a project manager. They’re in charge of creating long- and short-term plans, including setting targets for milestones, making effective decisions, and adjusting schedules and targets on a project, among other tasks. Considering your already heavy workload, it’s essential that you delegate tasks to your project managers, as they are best positioned to complete them to ensure business success. Since they’re able to lead to a certain extent, this also opens up opportunities for your team and business to grow further as they will be able to get more done even without eating up your own precious time.
We mentioned in the introduction that even though delegation can bring results, it’s important to empower your employees. One crucial way of doing this is by not micromanaging. A study linking micromanaging behavior and employee productivity defines micromanagement as characterized by a high level of control or attention to detail. The researchers found that employee productivity is hampered by micromanagement, as managers or leaders spend too much time demonstrating tasks.
Ultimately, micromanaging resulted in less time for actual output, meeting corporate needs, and serving customers’ demands. At the same time, micromanaging impacts employee morale, which can cause your business to slip back rather than move forward. While it’s important to be in control and stay on top of the goings-on in your small business, it’s just as important to trust the employees you delegate tasks to. This empowers them to grow and become more productive.
To conclude, effective delegation can help small business owners reduce the stress of running a business. However, it’s important to delegate with mindful intention and execution. At the end of the day, remember that your small business is a collaborative effort between you and your team.