There is no way in life that anybody can do all that needs to be done in his or her life. So why even attempt to do it all when you can easily delegate all your mundane management functions and focus on the things that really matters in life?
The answer to the above question is found in the fact a lot of business owners don’t really appreciate the advantages and disadvantages of delegation of duties.
In this article, I will be exploring the advantages and disadvantages of delegation of duties so that any entrepreneur that is still not delegating will be doing so at his or her choice (perilous one at that), not out of ignorance.
Dangers of not delegating responsibilities
The dangers of refusing to delegate responsibilities include the followings;
- Stifled growth: not allowing other people to contribute their quota to the progressive movement of a is a major ingredient in the stagnancy recipe that non-delegation of responsibility brings to the table. Growth opportunities are easily thrown out of the window by simply refusing to let others give a helping hand.
- Unmotivated staff: nothing kills staff motivation like not being engaged at work place. The brightest minds amongst the staff members will even resign simply because they are being underutilized – needless to say that
- Unproductive staff: how can you expect people to be productive when you employed them to work for you yet you hijacked almost all the tasks? My father was guilty of this, he would ask the helpers to have a seat while him and my siblings would be doing all the work. That is simply not good management style.
- Lack of succession plan: having a succession plan as a small business is one of the key success factors of a small business. A business that does not properly utilize delegation dies a natural death as soon as the owner is no more. Some of the posts in this accounting blog are written by my dependents who will eventually take over from me when I am long gone.
Ten (10) Common reasons why entrepreneurs do not delegate
Some entrepreneurs tend to forget that doing business is a risk on its own. They are willing to take on the challenge of doing business not willing to their common fears listed in this section of this article – what an irony!
Below are some of the common reasons given by entrepreneurs that makes them not to want to delegate responsibilities;
- Fear of low quality of services being offered
- I can do it better than them syndrome
- I do it faster and more efficiently
- We are short staffed
- This is too risky to delegate
- We don’t have experienced staff
- My customers are happy when I do it myself
- We cannot afford to make mistake with this order
- My staff are too busy
- My trade secrets will be sold to my competitors
Six (6) Advantages of delegation
- Employees will have a sense of ownership: employees who are more involved in the scheme of things are more likely to take ownership of tasks deliver above and beyond.
- Frees managers time: a true manager is one who is able to free up time from repetitive and low value add tasks, then utilize those time in high value add areas. Effective implementation of delegation of authority, duty and task helps ensure that you can free up quality time for quality assignments.
- Improves controls: at each level of delegation lies a level of control. Supervisors for instance are responsible for ensuring optimum solution – including security of assets under their care.
- Growth potential is unleashed: delegation of duties and responsibilities unleashes exponential growth. It is always a multiplier effect where 1+1 is not 2, and this translates into growth.
- Overs varieties to customers: a man can not be an island. Communal knowledge utilization means that the customer is provided with varieties to choose from.
- Economies of scales is gained: delegation of tasks makes it possible for resources to be produced in large quantity in such a way that quantity discounts starts accruing.
Disadvantages of delegation
- Fraud: delegation when not done correctly can lead to unintended consequences including misappropriation of assets.
- Espionage: a spy may unknowingly be employed by an organization and if exposed to key areas of the business may succeed in executing the plans of the competitor who planted the rogue staff.
- Leads to mistake: a staff who is delegated to perform a critical staff may make a costly mistake. But a one-off mistake may not be enough to make a company go underground except it is repeated and malicious in nature.
How to delegate
Now that we have briefly discussed the advantages and disadvantages of delegation, it will be right at this point to talk about how to delegate correctly so as to maximize the benefits of delegation and minimize the drawbacks of delegation.
Sell the big picture: The first and probably the most important thing to do as far as delegation is concerned is to sell the business objectives, philosophy and mission to the employees.
I have consulted for a fintech startup where the business adopted visual strategic map as a way of passing the mission statement of the organization to all staff members. The idea was simple but very effective in making all staff buy into the future of the business.
Have internal control: Once this is done, the next step in delegating is to set up a robust internal control that will work on autopilot. Having a functional internal control is no doubt the best form of fraud prevention that any organization can have.
Prioritize tasks and responsibilities: prioritization of assets is a classic risk management technique that can be perfectly deployed to managing delegation risks. Apply the Pareto rule here.
Ask vital questions: every entrepreneur always have many ‘why’ and ‘how’ in their question armory, make use of them to critically evaluate potential outcomes of any action taken – sensitivity analysis would be very helpful here. Questions are better than the answers given in this phase of planning to delegate because the right question will prompt you to optimizing your processes.
Start small then build on the little success: you are not expected to delegate 100 of your total business operations in one go. It has to be done incrementally. Start first with those tasks that has been marked as not too critical in the prioritization phase, then scale it up as you see positive progress.
Monitor performance: delegation is not something you just do and forget about it. There must be some sort of monitoring and supervising to be done. Depending on the prevailing laws in your jurisdiction, you may have some form of surveillance system installed to enhance monitoring.
One of the main reasons why entrepreneurs venture into business for themselves is that building a business would give them freedom to live the way they want – including financial freedom. So why then would anyone think its cool to be tied down to your business? I urge you to start utilizing the tips shared in this article today to start freeing up some time for those things you like doing through effective use of delegation.