Is the way you delegate a detriment to your business venture?

When you started your business, chances are it wasn't because you dreamed of managing people. However, when any venture becomes a success, the need for additional workers arises, and in turn so does the need to delegate.

Three-quarters of entrepreneurs lack the ability to delegate effectively.

Delegation is the process of entrusting tasks to others and is a central component to both management and teamwork. However, researchers Sangeeta Bharadwaj Badal and Bryant Ott found that 75 per cent of entrepreneurs lack the ability to do so effectively.

It isn't such a surprise when you consider the start up phase is driven by high-risk decisions and oft-turbulent management, thus essential leadership qualities such as charisma and passion drive the bottom line for success.

But as the excitement fades and the venture grows into a fully-formed business, those leadership skills that served so well in the beginning often don't deliver when it comes to the management challenge of an expanding operation.

The link between delegation and development

A 2014 survey of almost 1,500 US entrepreneurs found that 33 per cent of those who demonstrated a high level of delegator talent were planning significant growth. Alternatively, only 21 per cent of those with limited abilities had such plans. The same trend was found in recruitment expectations, with skilled delegators planning a 14 per cent increase in staff compared to only 5 per cent for those who weren't.

Executive coach and author Sabina Nawaz wrote a piece in Harvard Business Review in May this year. Her argument was that if delegation is to be successful, the delegator must be willing to properly train the employee.

Often, managers and team leaders only begin to delegate when they are inundated with work and physically cannot fulfil their responsibilities alone. But in these situations, delegation usually takes the form of off-loading tasks rather than effectively up-skilling employees and can create a vicious cycle of productivity problems.

Without the right level of guidance and feedback, delegation can be frustrating for employees.Without the right level of guidance and feedback, delegation can be frustrating for employees.

How can delegation be done better?

Ms Nawaz created a model for how to delegate effectively based on how the level of each employee's expertise. Essentially, the less experience, competence, and confidence an employee has with the delegated task, the more effort you must put into monitoring their performance and providing constructive feedback. But even once they have mastered the job, you always need to be there for support.

You must remember that delegation is a shared task and requires input from everyone if it is to advance an organisation's human resources. However, just understanding this doesn't necessarily make it any easier.

For more tips on how you can get the most out of your employees while empowering them, talk to an HR consultant at Flexi Personnel today.