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All great leaders are good at delegating so you must start by off-loading unnecessary tasks as soon as possible. Remember, time is your most precious commodity! Since delegation is so important, you must prepare properly for it. You must make sure that the person that will be doing the task knows what to do. The worst thing you can do is to abdicate a task to someone. By this, I mean giving them some task or job, that probably you don’t particularly like doing, and then leaving them alone to do it. Ultimately you are always responsible for the outcome so ensure you keep an active knowledge of its progress. It is essential that you carefully explain what you want done, how you want it done and what you consider a successful outcome to be.

This may come as a shock, or at least seem like overkill, but you must document how you want your processes and tasks to be completed. From my experience, most owners just give their staff a (quite often limited) set of verbal instructions. The owner then assumes that the employee knows what to do and the employee then assumes what he thinks the owner wants done. However well intentioned, this feeble attempt at delegation has little chance of producing the desired results. You see, it is a simple but important fact about human learning that only about 20% of people are auditory learners – people that receive and easily comprehend verbal information. The rest of us are either visual or kinaesthetic learners. That is, we need to see (a picture, diagram or read) what to do, or we need to actually do something before we fully understand.

After you have properly prepared, trained and given your team member the job to do, then let them do it. Remember to delegate the authority as well as the task. Do not jump in and save them or they will never learn how to get the job done. If you do, they will “learn” that you are the only one who can fix things and guess what, they will be right. You have to be willing to let them fall off the bike if they are ever going to learn how to stay on.