The Art of Delegation
Entrepreneurs like yourself start “bootstrap companies” and leverage their unique skills to grow the business. As they achieve success, many founders fall into the same trap, where they hold on to too many responsibilities and struggle to delegate tasks effectively.
The art of delegation can be one of the trickiest parts of being a business owner and growing yourself out of the business. So how do we do it right? How do we make sure that when employees receive a task from you, they know what you want them to do, and they also know how much autonomy you are giving them to make a decision? We’ve seen “delegation” is not just one thing but there are 4 degrees of delegation with an increasing level of autonomy. We need to be able to show employees which degree they have, so they don’t feel paralyzed when making a decision.
There are 4 Degrees of Delegation:
Follow My Lead – I trust you to follow my instructions
You are giving very specific instructions to your employees, Standard Operating Procedures [SOPs], that they should follow. You are not giving them a lot of autonomy to make their own decisions – you want them to follow instructions and do it a certain way
“Let me know if you have questions about the process or suggestions for how to make it better”
Research & Report – I trust you to think like an owner
You’re asking your employee to go out and explore a variety of different ways to solve a problem or complete a project, scale to 2 or 3 potential avenues, and report back to you what they would recommend – you are still the decision-maker
“Please research some options for completing this task. Outline which options you considered, the pros and cons to each, and which option you would choose if you were the owner of the business”
Do it & Report – I trust you to do what you think is right
You are trusting your employee to make decisions, yet you are still holding onto the reigns to some extent because you are asking them to circle back to you after they have made a decision so you can course-correct along the way if at any point they have made a decision that you would not have made.
“please loop me in once complete or if anything out of the norm arises in the process of completing it.”
Own it – I trust you to take this task completely off my plate
You are completely trusting your employee to own this task so much that you don’t even want a report! This clearly gives your employee full autonomy in order to make a decision. If you are here, you CANNOT then question their decision-making after the fact. This can cause confusion and frustration.
“Run with it to the best of your ability. There is no need to check back with me unless you have questions or need my input”
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