(3 Minute Read or Listen Below)
Do you feel like you can't get your arms around everything? Like things are spiraling out of control? Maybe you're trying to do too much.
You know the calculation. We all have 1,440 minutes every day. Can you confidently say you spend your time doing the essential activities that move your business forward?
With tremendous regularity, I see small business leaders handling work best performed by others, and robbing themselves of time to spend on personal priorities or other priorities of the business.
Many leaders are hesitant to delegate. They believe they are the only one who knows how to do a task correctly. Maybe they enjoy it. Perhaps they don't trust the team's skillset or ability. No matter the reason, many leaders pile too much on their own plate.
I believe that delegating is a leadership activity. Not only is delegation crucial to your sanity, but it is also critical to the development of your team. Without opportunities for growth, you may see your best players leave, and see a considerable amount of organizational knowledge walk out the door with them. Not to mention, your skills are likely best applied elsewhere.
The Work Institute's 2017 Retention Report reveals it costs employers 33% of a worker's annual salary to hire a replacement. In dollars, the replacement cost for an employee earning $45,000 a year is a whopping $15,000. The study also concludes that 75% of the causes of employee turnover are preventable. For example, during exit interviews, 22% of respondents cited career development as their top reason for leaving.
If your organization experiences a high turnover rate, training the same material over and over again to new hires is draining vital resources you could invest in other projects.
Taking on too much of the work yourself also creates a cascade of chaos through your organization. When you can't focus on business priorities, your team finds themselves perpetually reacting to your looming deadlines or impromptu ideas.
This reactionary environment eliminates the possibility of planning and preparation, leading to missed opportunities. Without intention, you teach your team to wait and react to your whim. Because plans could be interrupted or changed at any moment, it erases any incentive to think long-term.
One of the most frequent excuses I hear about delegation is, "by the time I train someone I could do it myself." So, let's do some delegation math, shall we?
How much time will you recover annually by teaching someone else to do that task?
By teaching someone else to do that 30-minute task, you will recover over three weeks each year to focus on something important to you or your business.
Your team can't help if they don't know what to do, how to do it, or your expectations. To be clear, I am not advocating you offload all your responsibilities to your team. As a leader, you should be extremely conscious of the workload your team carries and set reasonable expectations. But there are many advantages to mindful delegation.
Developing bench strength demonstrates that you are preparing the organization for the future. As the leader, that translates to time you can spend focusing on whatever is important to you both personally and professionally. If you really cannot trust your team to handle some of your tasks, that is an entirely different discussion for another time.
Delegation is a skill and a development tool I've intentionally built into my signature consulting service. It's not about shuffling off tasks or permitting you to micro-manage. It provides your team with job skills and gives them the authority to make decisions within the parameters you establish. You are there to provide the necessary support and training, but it is essential that you allow autonomy and increase accountability. You and the whole organization will reap the benefits.
And for those who don't develop their team for fear of training them, only to watch them leave and take the skills somewhere else, Richard Branson said it best, "Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough, so they don't want to."
If you would like help strengthening your delegation skills, contact me through my website at www.newpathpro.com.