Many business leaders feel the need to carry every responsibility on their shoulders, but eventually, even the strongest will tire with that approach. Instead, free up more time to do what you’re best at by thoughtfully delegating the right tasks to the right people. In return, you can carry less weight while increasing productivity throughout your company.
If you’re a business leader, your plate is likely full of responsibilities. From managing your team to keeping projects on track, you’re getting pulled in many different directions. However, one person can’t do it all. You have a finite amount of energy, and it’s critical that you spend it on the tasks specific to your role.
But delegating tasks is a struggle for many leaders. According to John Hunt, a former London Business School professor, only 30% of managers consider themselves good delegators, and only a third are considered good delegators by their employees.
Although releasing the reins can be challenging, failing to do so will create bottlenecks within your organization. These bottlenecks cause friction in production, resulting in lower profit margins and frustrated employees. According to Databox, almost 53% of respondents believed long-term bottlenecks take the largest toll on company growth, and 47.2% said short-term hang-ups have the most significant business impact.
These clogs only happen once in a while, but their potential impacts are substantial. Here are three strategies you can use to offload responsibilities effectively:
1. Work with an external partner.
Creativity fuels innovation and keeps businesses moving forward. However, whether we want to admit it or not, everyone’s imagination runs dry eventually, and dry spells can create clogs. This is where an external partner can be helpful.
It’s easy to get tunnel vision when you’re busy running a team. But when you delegate tasks to outside partners, they can see problems from new perspectives and bring innovative solutions to the table. This is especially true when it comes to project management, which Databox reports as one area most prone to bottlenecks.
Gus Cicala, founder and CEO of Project Assistants, believes this is likely because talented project managers are hard to find.
“Why is finding a good project manager so challenging? For starters, they’re in high demand, and existing talent shortages make project management staffing no easy feat,” Cicala said. “But more than that, hiring managers tend to overemphasize technical knowledge and training and undervalue soft skills and cultural fit. This is a dangerous habit to adopt.”
Cicala believes that finding a project manager who aligns with your company’s culture in addition to possessing the proper technical skills is key. An external partner who can check these two boxes can relieve you of project management tasks and bring a new creative perspective to recurring issues.
2. Identify underused skills on your team.
Your employees have diverse skill sets, and some of those strengths likely go unused. Taking the time to learn more about what your team brings to the table can provide insight into what tasks you can delegate comfortably.
For example, say one of your employees does creative writing outside of work. Those skills could come in handy for crafting engaging pitch decks or email copy. If those are tasks you’ve been handling, passing them to capable teammates can free you up to focus on more relevant duties.
Additionally, giving employees the freedom to hone those interests professionally can improve employee satisfaction and retention. Workers value opportunities to learn and grow; one Gallup survey reported that 57% of respondents wanted to update their skills. Identifying employee strengths gives workers the ability to grow and improve their professional profiles.
3. Consider leaning on co-creators.
Single-party decision-making can be efficient, but this limited perspective also makes it easier for details to fall through the cracks, leading to pressing challenges down the line. Co-creating is one helpful solution.
Co-creating isn’t the same as delegating, but it can help relieve some of the pressure leaders experience when making decisions. Furthermore, a more diverse perspective will lead to better outcomes and more buy-in from your team. Employees want to work for companies that prioritize collaboration. One study found that almost 75% of surveyed employers rated teamwork as “very important,” yet 39% of workers believed their organizations didn’t collaborate enough.
Looping teammates into the decision-making process provides co-workers with the chance to share ideas and ensures everyone is working toward the same goal. Involving others in company decisions also ensures you’ve thought through initiatives from every angle, decreasing the likelihood of disruption.
Leading a team can feel like carrying the weight of the company on your shoulders. But you don’t have to tackle every task alone. Learning to delegate gives you more space to focus on the critical components of your role while removing company bottlenecks.
Written by Rhett Power.
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