Successful women in business often inspire a sense of awe in us. Often, people wonder what sacrifices the woman had to make in order to be where she is. If the female seems to have it all—money, title, work-life balance and self-actualization—we wonder how she did it. How did she overcome all the obstacles life and society often throw in women’s paths? What can we learn from these superwomen?
Most women in business recommend various tips for success. While some recommend bloody-mindedness and doggedness, others recommend courage, passion and grit. But one hack all successful people (both male and female) recommend is this: mastering the art of delegation and learning to allocate tasks.
You’re probably scratching your head and wondering if this is a project management course or HR lecture. You’re probably also asking, what is delegation of authority and task allocation anyway?
Delegation of authority involves authorizing a team member or an employee to play specific roles or make certain decisions. It is the process of allocating a task to an employee. In our tech-savvy world, business owners can also delegate to business productivity tools and task allocation apps. It isn’t unusual for big and small businesses to delegate to time tracking apps, communications software, payroll apps, project management software and so on.
The most successful creatives on the Forbes lists are the best in their fields because they make strategic and tactical decisions. They understand that they can’t be their best, if they try to micromanage everything and be everywhere at once. They delegate discretionary tasks to employees so that they can focus on their areas of strength. The result is that they have boundless bursts of creative energy, high efficiency, improved productivity and excellent products and services. What’s more, their employees often feel, motivated, and valued.
Recently, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie called for applications from creative people . In the press release, she announced her decision to hire two interns to join her creative team. Clearly, this prolific writer understood that delegating tasks (such as PR, social media interactions and so on) would make her more productive.
If you aren’t yet convinced, we’ll show you detailed proof backed by research findings and personal stories. We’ll also show you how to delegate effectively.
Here is a list of reasons why you should consider delegating more. Our list was inspired by the stories of successful girls and women in business. Our goal is to show the different ways delegation of authority can foster business growth and improved productivity.
How Delegating Benefits Your Business
Gives You Room To Concentrate On More Creative Work
When successful blogger, Lori, set up her blog, she was a recent university graduate with a lot of time on her hands. But as the blog grew into a business, she struggled to delegate tasks to the couple of editors she’d hired. Could she trust them to handle the blog? Would they execute their tasks with utmost precision?
Lori had, what social psychologists refer to as, the self-enhancement bias. Because she had this bias, she constantly worried that nobody could execute a task better than she would. So she exhausted herself by taking on too much. She couldn’t focus on other creative projects— ideas for expanding the blog, a new book, a personal brand blog and a YouTube channel.
Before long, Lori lost some of her ardent readers to her competitors, company morale was at its lowest and worse still, she was very unproductive. Things began to improve when she began delegating discretionary tasks to her employees. Lori noticed that allocating tasks gave her time and space to focus on tasks that revolved around her areas of strength. Her work hours were more productive and fulfilling. She came up with more creative ideas for expanding the blog; she completed her book and her blogging business grew to be one of the most inspiring in her region.
Studies published in the Harvard Business Review showed that business executives waste their time on discretionary tasks they can delegate. And poor delegation habits lead to low productivity and workplace stress.
Irrespective of your business, you can learn from Lori’s experience. Do yourself a favor. Delegate more so that you can focus on the tasks that promote business growth and increase long-term profit margins.
Equips and Empowers You To Guide Team Members
No employee wants a Helicopter ‘Micromanager of a Boss. It’s not because these employees are lazy. It’s basically because people thrive in environments where there is trust, adequate wriggle room and freedom to use one’s creative skills.
To get the most of your staff, give them training seminars and give them room to get creative in the work environment. As a leader, your job is to mentor your employees; not to micromanage them. Employee morale is higher when workers know that they are valued, trusted and understood.
Do what other successful women in business do: discover each employee’s areas of strengths and weaknesses. Train them in their areas of strengths. Ensure that workers are assigned tasks that lie within their areas of strength. Practicing delegation empowers you to be the good mentor every employee needs.
How to Delegate
As the saying goes, practice makes perfect. To learn to delegate, you have to be open to trying it out. Here are a few questions to ask (and answer when deciding which tasks to delegate):
- In running this business, what areas drain my creative energies?
- What aspect of this business gulps most of my creative time?
- What are the most stressful tasks?
- Which tasks do I have to repeat often? Can someone else handle these repeated tasks?
Once, you answer these questions, you’ll realize what aspects of your business you can outsource and what tasks you can delegate.
Ready to delegate, but not sure where to start? Below are some effective strategies you can try:
- Automate Your Business Processes
One of the advantages of living in the Age of the Internet is this: you don’t have to handle tasks manually. You can delegate to machines and business productivity apps.
For instance, you can monitor employee productivity and track work time through effective employee monitoring software. A good example of one of such software is Time Doctor. With such an effective HR software, you can monitor employee activity at your own convenience.
Other collaboration tools include Trello, Asana, Microsoft Office apps, Google Apps and so on. These task allocation apps can help you to manage projects, track work is done, as well as schedule and manages meetings. The benefits of delegating to such business software are enormous. We have already mentioned before.
Now you know how to delegate. The best place to start is through delegating to machines.
- Develop and Implement Replicable Schemes
Assign time-consuming tasks to employees. To help them do their work, create a systematic workflow that can serve as a guide. This way, you can retreat to the quiet spaces in your office and focus on more serious tasks.
Create a playbook for future employees. Work with your staff to constantly update this document. The playbook should be designed to play the role of a resource guidebook. Below are some important things this document must contain:
- Step-by-step guide on how these tasks should be executed.
- Deadlines for tasks
- Things to note
- Problems encountered and troubleshooting tips.
This workflow and playbook document can be in hardcopy or softcopy. What matters is that your employees have access to them and that they can work with these documents.
- Become An Expert At Working on Specific Tasks
At the beginning of each working day, concentrate on one area in your business. You might decide to boost your customer success rate in the first week. The following week can be dedicated to improving the quality of your products. You can also focus on paying attention to customer’s needs and working towards meeting them.
If you’re a writer, you can choose to focus on finishing your book within a specific period. Subsequently, you can then channel your energy towards rewriting or editing your book. Prioritize your work each day. Don’t visit social media until you have finished your work for the day.
Resist the temptation to multitask. You are more likely to be creative if you focus on one task at a time. While you’re at it, you can share your goal with your team members. Carry them along so that they will manage repeatable tasks and suggest solutions to you as well,
The business world is tough, especially for women. To break into the male-dominated business world, you must work hard and smart. Your creative skills will give you an edge over your competition. You can’t be your best if you’re constantly overwhelmed by too many repeatable, discretionary tasks you can delegate.
Learn how to delegate. Be open to the idea of the delegation of authority. Train your team members, and trust them to do a good job. Mentor them and give them access to a step-by-step workflow sheet you’d have designed. Automate your business processes too. Delegating is the easiest way to boost productivity and increase business profit.
Are you a woman in business? How much do you delegate? How has task allocation promoted the growth of your business? Do you sometimes have the self-enhancement bias? How do you overcome this bias? Please share in the comments section.
Chioma Iwunze-Ibiam is a freelance writer, blogger and novelist. Her first novel Finding Love Again was published by Ankara Press. Her second novel, The Heiress’ Bodyguard, was longlisted for the Saraba Manuscript Project Awards. An alumni of the Farafina Trust Creative Writing Workshop(2010), She runs and manages www.creativewritingnews.com, where she helps writers learn how to make money online and offline.