To be a successful entrepreneur, you must be willing to delegate. You must understand delegation isn’t just about dropping the work you don’t want to do onto others; it’s about identifying which tasks are best managed on your own and which are best assigned to others. It’s about managing the work others perform on your behalf. It’s about ensuring that the people who work with and for you are in the best positions to get the job done efficiently and effectively.

And, most of all, it’s about freeing yourself up to concentrate on the more challenging or pressing tasks—the key decisions that will determine the success or failure of your business ventures and, of course, the things at which you excel.

If you can learn to become an effective delegator, your productive capacity will improve. Just as importantly, so will the productive capacity of the people to whom you delegate. Everyone in whom you place your trust will be able to expand their knowledge base, thereby improving their ability to contribute to the overall business.
This will make everyone in the operation more effective, productive, knowledgeable, and efficient. It will transform your company from a place run by a single expert into a place that progresses via the combined efforts of many experts. And when this happens, the sky is the limit.

So, with all of that in mind, here’s how to delegate effectively.

Assess your work and your workers – There are many reasons to delegate—some of them right and some of them wrong. The wrong reasons include being too stressed or you just don’t want to deal with a particular task. Taking something you don’t want to do and sticking it with someone else (regardless of that person’s capacity to manage the task) isn’t delegation. That’s just laziness.

Effective delegation requires that you thoughtfully consider which tasks might be better served by someone else. And the only way to determine which tasks can be delegated versus kept is to assess the work you have on hand carefully.

Assess the people with whom you work - Tasks that can be delegated might not make themselves apparent until you carefully consider the skill sets of the people on whom you rely. That new employee might benefit from some of the administrative work, for example.

Someone in sales who might become a better worker by crossing over into tasks often associated with marketing. Your assigning a particular person to take your place as liaison to a given client or partner company might expand their capabilities as a leader.

Be clear – Do not be afraid to spend as much time as you need to go over everything in detail. Don’t skimp on the descriptions of what you expect to be achieved. Point out the potential problems or pitfalls the assignee might expect to encounter. Tell him in detail about the outcomes you hope to achieve by the end of the task.
Perhaps most importantly, be sure to explain not just the what but the why of the task you are delegating. Many times the assignee will give a greater effort if he understands why the given work is necessary. If he understands the rewards as well as the outcomes, he will work that much harder to achieve them.

Accept the possibility of setbacks – If you assign some of your work to other people, you will of course encounter a few setbacks. The work you assign might come back wrong. There might be mistakes you have to fix. It could be that your assignee misunderstood what you wanted entirely. So expecting anything else from your assignees would be folly.

Stick with it – When you delegate, remain committed to the task from start to finish. Remember, it’s still ultimately your responsibility. Encourage your assignees to provide regular progress reports. Ask questions throughout the process (and answer them too). Set clear goals and outcomes and remind your assignees when a given goal or outcome is coming due. And when the task is complete, provide a thorough, comprehensive review.

Reward successes and fix shortfalls – As you assess the outcome of the task, be sure to point out areas where the assignee excelled. Praise him for these successes. Where possible, reward him as well. In areas where improvement is needed, be sure to provide constructive feedback. The key word here is constructive. It’s okay to point out flaws in the approach, but do so in the most positive fashion possible.

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Ken Odiwé is the Founder and CEO of Waterstone Management, a boutique consulting firm helping entrepreneurs and companies reach their peak performance. He is also the founder of ‘The Entrepreneur Success Institute’. Dr. Ken is on a mission to share the secrets of The New American Millionaires with as many people as possible, so that they can experience the transformation that comes with increased wealth.