You’re an entrepreneur and you’ve got a vision for a new startup. This vision also comes with a 1000 item to-do list. So how do you ever complete the to-do list and launch a successful startup? Truth be told, you’ll always have something on the to-do list. However, managing that to-do list can be so much more efficient if you delegate properly. The founders and CEOs of companies like Mashable, Air BnB, Uber, Nike, and Apple obviously put in more time and effort into their companies at the start than other early employees. However, that does not mean that they did 99.99% of the work. A successful leader knows what needs to be done by him/herself and what can be delegated.
None of us have the capabilities of Superman, Batman, or Captain America. Hence, delegation is less of an option than you think. Frankly, if done correctly (as we will try to map below) you are entering into a win-win situation: you have more time for other, higher prioritized tasks, and the co-worker gets to expand his/her own capabilities by doing something outside of their daily tasks.
To understand “why” you should delegate you should first of all think in a rational manner. Let’s take for example a situation in which you have 10 tasks to complete within 24 hours. You can either complete all 10, with none of them or not all of them being completed in an extraordinary manner. On the other hand you can delegate 3 tasks and as a result all 10 tasks can be completed in the right manner. Delegation allows you to make the best use of your time and skills, and it helps other people in the team grow and develop to reach their full potential in the organization.
The average tech CEO works about 300 days a year, 14 hours a day. That’s 4,200 hours a year.
How to Delegate
1. Delegate to everyone: Yes, even employees that you trust less than others should have work delegated to them. Obviously there are tasks with more importance/difficulty and those should be handed to those you trust more. However, don’t think that you will create more trust or motivate an employee, especially in hi-tech, by passing them over. Instead delegate a task to a group, with someone highly trusted leading the way.
2. Define the task and give a timeline: Don’t command a timeline rather ask them first of all when they think they can have the work done. Again, one of the benefits of delegating is strengthening your team. Giving more responsibility and showing trust is one way. In regards to the task, as simple as it may seem, make sure that everyone is on the same page in regards both to the quality and the actual end product.
3. Match the task with the person: Each employee and team member has different qualities and characteristics. Each task requires different skills in order to be carried out at the highest level of expertise. Don’t just delegate an event organization to your CMO because he is at the top of the hierarchy. Instead, try to see if anyone has connections or skills that would enable him or her to excel at that task.
4. Don’t always delegate to managers: Your first instinct is to delegate tasks to your CMO, CTO, and other managers who will then choose how to proceed. It is a good option, but sometimes the better option is delegating to the lowest level of hierarchy. Two reasons: one you strengthen the bond with that person and two you prevent any miscommunication. Ever tried passing on a message to a middle man that needs to pass the message to another middle man and then the person it’s meant for? Odds are that the outcome was less than optimal. Here you can prevent that.
5. Start small: Remember when you started to learn how to ride a bike? You started with training wheels so that you would have more success in the long-run and to prevent injuries in the short-run. The same thing goes for delegating tasks. Start off by delegating small tasks, maybe even to groups, and then later on once the training wheels are off, you can delegate a more challenging task.
Delegate not because you must. Delegate because you’ve hired the right people. Delegate because you know it’s what’s best for everyone. Delegate because it creates personal growth. Delegate because it is what’s best for business.