Successful competition involves breaking through inevitable barriers – – and some of the most challenging barriers might be you or your key leaders!

As a business enterprise grows, owners must make some critical choices to continue that growth. Some would argue that among those decisions, delegation is most critical.

In reality, there is no choice.

Inevitably, a business owner or division head reaches a point where it is necessary to assign responsibilities and  authority in order to grow the business or fulfill commitments to customers.

Levels of delegation vary, but any assigned task must be at least classified as:

  • Tasks that cannot be delegated
  • Tasks that need management review before approval
  • Tasks whose results are to be reported to management
  • Tasks whose results are only reported if they are exceptions to acceptable performance

With the above categorical parameters in place, methods and advice for delegation are endless.  Following are 5 tips that we think are the most critical to effectively delegate responsibility.

  1. Define – Create a list of functions to delegate and develop written guidelines indicating detailed descriptions of functions, duties and extent of authority.
  2. Assign – select an individual or core group of staff to whom very specific responsibilities will be delegated. Owners and managers usually know who those individuals might be, but at least the chosen staffer should be competent in the technical area for which he or she would be held accountable.
  3. Feedback – Periodic feedback on delegates’ progress is important for staying informed. This can be accomplished through reports, meetings or a combination of both. Critical information to be shared should include financial reports, management reports, critical factors (KPIs) that are crucial to operating success, and essential guidance to support ongoing performance improvement.
  4. Plan B – Things happen; some partially predicable, some not. Give each delegate the leeway to train a replacement who could handle the job if the need arises.
  5. Stand back – allow delegates and assigned personnel to do their jobs their way – within established parameters set in Step 1.

Successful managers are successful delegators.  Those who are hesitant to give up the reigns must ask themselves: Do I want to be bogged down in the day-to-day activities of the business or do I want to spend my time growing my business to the next level?

The wrong answer may doom the hesitant manager to being perpetually managed by his or her own job.