Mastering the Delegation Process in a Small or Mid-Sized Company

03.18.20 3:55 AM

What would happen to your business if you were taken out of the picture? It can happen for any number of reasons – a family emergency, a long-term illness, or a serious accident, for instance. For many business owners and CEOs, the answer is that their business would ultimately fail. They are their business. While that might seem natural, even unavoidable in some instances, it’s not ideal.


You want your business to continue if something happens to you. You expect the team in accounting to show up to work, and expect your sales team to continue doing what they do. You expect your business to continue serving customers or clients – it should not simply grind to a halt because you’re no longer at the helm.


The question here is how to achieve that result. Often, removing the business owner from the equation does mean the business will ultimately fail. That’s most likely because you're biting off more than you can chew.. You're doing too many things yourself, and taking on too many responsibilities. Of course, chances are good that you think that’s unavoidable. After all, you’re the only one who can do them the way you want those tasks completed.. 


The answer to the question on avoiding business collapse if you’re not around is simple – learning to delegate. But the process of learning in itself is another story entirely.

Ask Yourself: Why Am I Not Delegating?  


“The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.” – Sandra Day O’Connor


Delegation is vital. It is a critical element of not just business success, but  for helping  your business to survive, grow, and thrive. If you’re not yet, ask yourself why you haven’t begun delegating. To help narrow it down, following are some common reasons:


  • The fear of giving up control

  • The need to micromanage

  • The insistence on doing things “your way”

  • The belief that no one else can do what you do

  • Fear of failure


 Since you’re the only one that can do things in a specific way, you need to learn how to work smart, not hard.. 


This is where delegation comes in by allowing you to take a step back from micromanagement and allowing you to focus on other mission-critical aspects, ideation, mentoring your team, and building relationships and a stronger business without getting bogged down by mundane day-to-day operations.

Accept Imperfections and Refine Results Over Time 

One common reason for leaders to avoid delegation is the desire for perfection. That’s natural and even laudable. However, it’s unrealistic. No one is perfect, and perfection isn’t possible 100% of the time. In order to maximize results you see from delegation, you’ll need to learn how to accept imperfection, at least in the short term, and then refine the results that you see over time. 

Communication is a crucial part of business growth and a lack of it can lead to road blocks, hurdles, and failure.

Strengthen Communications   

Delegation cannot succeed without open, accurate, ongoing, honest communication. That might seem like a tall order to fill, but ensuring that your team knows they can come to you with anything, at any time, guarantees small mistakes or missteps are handled in a timely manner and avoided overtime. 


It also flows the other way – you need to be able to communicate with your team whenever and wherever necessary. Communication is a crucial part of business growth and a lack of it can lead to road blocks, hurdles, and failure.

Avoid Micromanaging   

Micromanaging is a waste of your time and energy, showing that you have little faith in your team,  hinders innovation and accountability. To avoid it, make sure you’re setting yourself and your team up for success by ensuring that the right talent is in place within key positions, then, be clear on expectations and step back.

That last part is often the hardest, but if you’ve done your legwork with the rest, you should be able to do so with confidence that the team will succeed even without you getting involved in every single decision.


Consider Delegation as a Development Tool   

Team member development is a critical consideration, and a vital step for business owners interested in retaining and grooming top talent. This is particularly true in today’s competitive environment where job openings outnumber qualified candidates. By developing your team members through delegation, you can promote job security, increase retention and boost loyalty, while ensuring that your business has a firm, stable foundation for growth and success.

Hire More Frequently   

One hurdle to delegating might be that you simply lack the staff to do so. The answer to that is simple – hire more. However, you need to hire with a strategy in mind, and that plan should include being able to delegate responsibilities to employees or entire teams so  you can step back and take on a different role. 


Note that this doesn’t mean you should hire without proper vetting or evaluation.. Quality counts, so hire the right talent. Just don’t delay the hiring process because you want to maintain control over a particular process or part of the business.

Consider Working with Freelancers   

Freelancers can provide a viable way of delegation without having to hire in-house employees. They’re used to short-term, impermanent positions with their clients, as well as being called on an as-needed basis. 


This provides you with the means to delegate whenever the need arises, and downsize workforce if the situation changes. 

Some of the most commonly outsourced business processes include bookkeeping/accounting, marketing, and IT services.

Outsource Where Necessary   

Working with freelancers is a type of outsourcing, but you can go bigger. Business process outsourcing (BPO) offers the means to outsource part or the entire process integral to your company’s operation. Some of the most commonly outsourced business processes include bookkeeping/accounting, marketing, and IT services.

Institute Processes and Technology that Mitigate Risks   

Finally, consider instituting processes and technology that mitigate risks involved with delegation, while making things more streamlined. For instance, create a process that dictates when X happens, Y must also happen, then Z must occur. It’s about providing guidance and a concrete set of steps for your team to follow based on your knowledge and expertise.


In addition, consider technology like automation – this can completely eliminate the need to delegate to a human team member at all. For instance, consider chatbots. A chatbot integrated with Facebook messenger provides a way for customers or clients to get information, as questions, and move forward without the need for human talent in the equation at all.

In Conclusion   

Ultimately, delegation is an important consideration for business owners looking for expansion and success.There is only so much that you can do on your own, and insisting on being personally involved in all aspects of the business will ultimately push you beyond what's needed, compromising your ability to do what you do best. 


By mastering the delegation process, you can take a step back, while being confident that your business will continue operating as it should.