Running a business requires a lot of juggling. Work piles up, and if your support team isn't on point, you have to sort it out yourself. As a creative entrepreneur, that's one less thing you want to deal with - amirite?
I've talked in previous posts about the importance of delegation. At some point, you just can’t do it all yourself. Yes, Fusions, I'm talking to you. But I'm also talking to Chaotics who still have that Vulcan death grip of control over everything, and anyone else who is the bottleneck in your business.
In order to have a successful business, you must know how to delegate efficiently. Bad delegation can lead to poor results. Here are a few things that help make delegation easier:
Set clear expectations
When delegating work, make your expectations clear. Tell people what you want and how you want it. Without a clear endpoint in mind, your team can’t know what to aim for. They aren't mind readers! Make sure everyone is on the same page so that everyone knows what success looks like before they begin.
Trust them to do their work
No helicopter supervising here! It can feel tempting to jump in and check on your delegated work every five minutes, but micromanagement often leads to poorer quality work being produced.
Instead, set a deadline to review the work. If this is the first time you've delegated this task, you may need to set a deadline for the first review and one for a final review later. You don't just want to throw your team to the wolves on the first assignment. Empowered your team to check in with questions, then trust them to do the work.
Once they've demonstrated proficiency, turn over the outcome to them completely. Unless something weird comes up, they shouldn't need you to manage the task once they've shown they are capable.
Don’t be afraid to give feedback
If, when the delegated work is returned to you, it doesn’t meet your expectations, say so. Don't try to fix it yourself. Your team needs to learn how to correct the work. If you do slip up and make the fixes yourself (sometimes it feels faster in the moment than trying to explain yourself), be sure to circle back to your team to let them know. Sometimes it really is easier to just fix it in the moment (especially for us Fusion creatives!), but that doesn't help your team learn what you want or how to fix it themselves.
Delegation is pointless if you end up with unsatisfactory results, which is why it's important to give your team extra time for new task assignments. It is important to voice concerns and give feedback, so work can be brought up to the level you want it to be. Remember: you are the boss. Your vision is important and should be enacted. Successful delegation is delegation that produces work of equal or better standard than you would.
Know What To Delegate
When your workflow hits critical mass, delegation is not optional. But it's also important to delegate the right things. You don’t want to delegate highly specialized work that's in your zone of genius. On the other hand, there's probably more work you can delegate than you might realize.
This could include:
- general labor (packing, shipping, labeling, filing)
- Work that requires a specific skillset (bookkeeping, legal, copywriting, ad planning)
- Time-consuming monotonous work (social media scheduling, process documentation)
Be intentional and discerning in what you delegate to free up your resources for higher value activities.
Internal Delegation vs External Delegation
Knowing whether work should be delegated internally or externally is key to successful delegation.
External delegation (also known as outsourcing) is something to consider if the work is a specialty that can't be covered effectively by your current team. For example, if your skill at content creation isn't producing the results you need, turning to a content writing service to provide it for you can save both money and time.
Remember, for me, it's not just about the return on investment, but the return on all your resources (ROR). Time, energy, money, effort, and attention are all valuable resources in growing your business.
If your current team can handle it, internal delegation is your best bet. You'll save money and can have a greater hand in shaping the work. Plus, if you're running on a tight timeline, you're more likely to hit your turnaround goals without paying a rush fee.
Delegation can be a real help to a creative enterprise when you think through your delegation options first. Know what you're aiming for, communicate it clearly, and give feedback on the finished result. If you're not getting the results you want, it may be time to outsource in order to crate more ease and efficiency in your business.