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How to Delegate Effectively (Even When You Only Have a Small Team)

Managing a team of any size comes with its challenges, and learning to delegate is an important step. You might think that this is less relevant for people who manage small teams, but delegation remains essential if you want to avoid spreading yourself too thin.

How to Delegate Effectively (Even When You Only Have a Small Team)

To help you achieve equilibrium through delegating, here are a few tips on how to go about this effectively.

Consider Your Outsourcing Options, e.g. for Payroll and HR

Small businesses are arguably trickier to manage than sprawling corporations because you will not have access to the same internal resources to support you in your efforts to steward your team successfully.

This is where outsourcing comes into play, and there are a whole host of options for up-and-coming companies that are struggling to keep up at the moment.

From contractors and outside agencies that will handle HR issues for you, to software solutions that can automate payroll processes and use the power of the cloud to save you time and money, there are so many to choose between.

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That is why it also makes sense to compare and contrast the platforms and packages on offer, such as analyzing ADP versus Paychex to ensure you invest in the right outsourcing service.

Simply knowing that delegation can involve offloading your responsibilities to external parties, rather than foisting these on other team members, can help to create more harmony in the office.

Break Duties Down Into Bite-Sized Chunks

One common complication with delegating in a small business is that you might not be able to work out which duties you can comfortably pass on to other team members because the overarching responsibility seems too hefty.

A good way to get around this is to instead dismantle larger tasks into more manageable pieces that are then simpler to delegate.

For example, in the case that you are handling all of the sales work in your organization, rather than fretting about handing this over wholesale, you could give other employees specific sales-related roles to fulfill.

This might mean leaving lead generation up to someone else, then following up on those leads yourself.

This granular approach is not only a good tool for delegation, but will also break you out of those bad micromanagement habits that you might have developed without realizing it, especially when managing teams remotely.

Provide Clear, Replicable Instructions

Another key to successful delegation is ensuring that the person who takes the reins from you is equipped with the right information to complete the tasks they face without faltering.

To avoid confusion in this context, documenting the processes that you follow and making them easy for others to access and replicate should be a priority.

That is not to say that there should be no room for flexibility; if the individual who takes on your duties is able to see a more efficient way of doing things, then processes need to be open to change. However, providing them with the foundations will help you sidestep delays.

Be Prepared to Reorganize Priorities

Often you will be delegated to another team member because you have more pressing matters to attend to, but you also need to make it clear that the work which is being transferred should shoot to the top of the recipient’s list of priorities.

Part of this is also recognizing that the employee to whom the task has been delegated will not necessarily be able to complete their other duties as quickly as originally expected, hence the need to be flexible and understanding of hold-ups that come about as a result of delegating.

Incentivize Extra Work

Following on from the discussion of prioritization and the potential for delays, it is sensible to take on board the likelihood that piling more work onto someone else’s plate could create stress and frustration.

As such, you need to provide an incentive for them to take on this responsibility, and also give them the time and space to do a good job.

Paying overtime and offering bonuses to those team members who go above and beyond to help you share the burden of running the business is strategically sensible, not only from a moral perspective but also because it will likely be more affordable to leverage existing employees rather than looking to a freelancer for a short term project.

Look Out for Skills & Strengths Which Can Be Harnessed

There is probably a lot of untapped potential in your small team, and delegating can be part of unleashing it.

If you see signs that an employee might be particularly adept at a task that is not necessarily at the forefront of their current role, then you could experiment with this through delegation. You might find that this delivers benefits in terms of employee loyalty as well as organizational productivity.


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