How not to go crazy in business management: the art of delegation

“I don’t want to hand over this task: by the time I explain what needs to be done, I’ve already done it.” “Only I can do this well, I don’t trust that others can do it at the same level.” Do these thoughts sound familiar? These sentences go through the minds of many business leaders every day. Unfortunately however, this attitude does not serve the interests of the company. In the long run, lack of delegation leads to decline, as every important task weighs on the leader’s shoulders. Which leaves them no time to focus on actual leadership.

Keep reading to find out how delegation works WELL to make your business successful and keep yourself calm.

Let’s start with the basics.

There is internal and external delegation within the company. Certain tasks can be assigned to colleagues, but there are also those for which an external subcontractor may be the optimal solution. Marketing is a typical example, as beside general marketing agencies, there are also specialized PPC agencies and social media agencies on the market. External delegation is a good decision when there is no capacity within the company to solve the given task. Or neither we nor our colleagues have the appropriate competence in this area.

What tasks should be delegated internally and externally?

Delegation is an integral part of leadership. After all, it becomes impossible over time for the leader to solve every cardinal issue alone. They need to surround themselves with people and teams, or subcontractors, they trust. So they can be confident that the delegates will perform the tasks entrusted to them at a high level.

It is advisable to delegate internally when there is the appropriate expert or team of experts for the given task. In a larger company, various departments operate, such as finance, logistics, HR, and marketing. In this case, delegation is automatic, each department performs its own tasks, and the leader can actually focus on leadership.

For small and medium-sized enterprises, the situation is not so simple. It is difficult to financially maintain entire departments, and with such a workload, it is unlikely that a specialist will be able to devote their full working time to the given task. In this case, it is worth considering part-time specialists or external delegation. For example marketing is in better hands with an external marketing agency, than with one single internal marketer.

External delegation

In the case of a small or medium-sized enterprise, the existence of various departments is not so clear. Often, there are only specialists for the activities related to the company’s profile, and all other processes supporting the company’s work can be outsourced. In this situation, it is worth considering which processes can be outsourced to an external company instead of trying to solve them internally.

What are the benefits of outsourcing?

  • A complete team works on the task instead of one colleague
  • Saves time for the company, internal colleagues can be assigned to other projects
  • They solve the task more efficiently and professionally, as they deal with it every day, this is their area of expertise
  • Monthly fee: you have to earn the salary of the internal colleague, while most subcontractors work with a fixed monthly fee, which may include the fees of 4-5 specialists
  • Professional execution: it is expected from an external company to provide you with the best of their expertise for your money
  • Quick change: in case of dissatisfaction, you can replace a subcontractor faster and easier than an internal colleague.

What tasks are worth delegating?

There are several areas that are worth outsourcing. These could include accounting, legal advice, logistics, or even the entire marketing, as you can “buy” it cheaper and with higher expertise. These tasks require serious knowledge and expertise! You can hire a colleague or even a whole team, but even then it is not certain that these departments will work with perfect efficiency.

Trends in online marketing change from day to day. Professionals need to constantly educate themselves to stay up-to-date with the latest trends. What was trendy and effective yesterday is now outdated and new directions are needed. A marketing agency, or especially a focused social media or PPC agency has the capacity to this. On the other hand a single internal marketer might not be able to cram courses into their hectic calendar.

Delegation can be done well or poorly. It may happen that we delegate tasks that we must do ourselves. For example because only we can represent our company on the given issue. It also often happens that we keep our colleagues or subcontractors under excessive control, although the goal would be to make our work easier. Let’s now examine this issue, that is, the bad process of delegation.

What not to delegate, and what to delegate to an external company?

There are tasks that cannot be delegated by their nature. Or it requires special expertise, competence that only the leader has, or it requires the leader’s network of contacts, or it may end in loss of credibility if someone else does it. There are also tasks that cannot be delegated to an internal colleague, but a subcontractor can do it perfectly.

Do not delegate:

  1. Performance evaluation. Colleagues are interested in your evaluation, your criticism or praise, the value is when the leader personally shares with them what he thinks of their work.
  2. Crisis situation This issue has become particularly important during the coronavirus. Even experienced leaders have found themselves in such serious situations that they were not prepared for. In such a situation, your partners and colleagues expect a solution from you, or at least guidance. Stay calm and make the important decisions yourself! However, this is already a transition in the delegation process, as an external partner, for example, can help in solving the crisis situation as a consultant, or a good marketing agency can prepare a perfect crisis communication strategy for you.
  3. Top management decisions and confidential matters. This is only the competence of us and those at our level.

Delegate, but to an external expert:

  1. Tasks for which the team or colleague is not yet mature, or their professional competence is not appropriate. In this case, even if there is a precise task description and perfect briefing, if the delegates do not yet see the exact tasks and solutions.
  2. What we ourselves do not like to execute. It is not advisable to entrust such tasks to a colleague, because if we do not like to deal with it, then the handover will not be smooth either, so we can also pass on the bad attitude with the task. However, a subcontractor can handle these situations excellently if the task is within their expertise.

Now that we know the benefits of delegation and have highlighted tasks that are not advisable to outsource, let’s see how to delegate WELL.

The steps of proper delegation

I know it’s not easy to let go of the reins, but it’s important that you can do it. Ideally, as a leader, we surround ourselves with people in our business whom we trust and know are capable of fully performing their tasks with the interests of the business in mind. If there are tasks in the company that neither we nor our colleagues can perform perfectly, then it is important that we can assign the task to an external team of experts. Again, marketing is a great example, as a marketing agency is better equipped to handle all your needs than one single internal marketer would be. By following the steps below, you can successfully delegate important tasks.

1. Define the exact task

This can be a subtask or a complete project. The point is to know exactly what the task is, what the steps of execution are, and to familiarize those who will be involved in the solution with these steps.

Know what result you expect

Clearly define what end result those working on the delegated project should achieve.

Assign the right team or subcontractor to the task

Entrust the work only to those who have the appropriate competence, expertise, and can execute the task most effectively.

Make all knowledge and tools common knowledge

Pass on all information, tell them what tools and resources they can use, what the budget is, what the deadline is, and who is responsible for the specific subtasks. A delegated project cannot fail because the leader provides half-information or does not precisely define the tools.

Ask back if everyone is aware of their task

Make sure everyone understands the details and all information reaches the right people.

If you feel it is necessary, occasionally ask about the progress of the work

This is where leaders usually make the biggest mistake in delegation, micromanagement. This is the situation where the leader seemingly delegates the task, but checks every little detail, asks about everything, reads every single letter before sending it out. He does not trust the team, and only feels safe about the project when he checks everything himself.

This is directly contrary to delegation, as the leader not only does not save time, but actually spends much more time checking his colleagues, subcontractors.

We know that every leader considers their own company the most important and finds it difficult to let go of control. But after a while, it is impossible to do everything alone, as it gets in the way of the company’s development. It is necessary to let go so that the business can grow and the leader can focus on development and management. And not accounting, shopping, or writing Facebook posts. This problem is also common when work is outsourced to subcontractors, so strong determination and trust are needed for delegation to work effectively.

The success of delegation is to let go of the tasks

This step follows directly from the previous point. If you have provided all the necessary information, materials, and deadlines, then let go of the task at hand! Trust your colleagues, your team, because you hired them and chose them for a reason. If they have questions, help them, but let them solve the task independently.

Check the result

When the task is completed, be sure to check and provide feedback to the team, colleagues on the quality of the work done. It is also important to evaluate yourself. Did I delegate a good task? Did I assess the team’s knowledge and efficiency well? Will the marketing agency I entrusted with the task work? These are the important questions to answer at this point.

We wish you successful delegation!

If you also have trouble with marketing in-house, feel free to contact us and delegate it to us!


Keith Murnighan – Do nothing!

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