Delegation is an issue that comes up in many of my calls. Entrepreneurs are on the brink of hiring someone but they don’t know who can do the work, what work they would delegate, what they need to get off their plate. Once they define that the question of how they can communicate clearly the expectation of getting it done becomes the next big obstacle.

First you need to define what you are willing to and want to delegate. One of my first suggestions is to keep a list of all the things you really dislike doing. Is it bookkeeping? Smaller administrative tasks? Social Media? Many of those tasks can be delegated to a support team or team member.

Then, create a list of all the tasks that are non-revenue generating tasks. Making that list will help you decide if you are willing to hand over tasks that don’t have a bang for your buck.

You can also create a list of the actions you are unwilling to let go of, the tasks you love. A client of mine did this, they loved to work with their graphic designer on projects. They felt it was a creative spark that helped them stay engaged. After about 6 months of deciding this, they found other creative tasks that that only they could work on. They left the graphics work to the pro-designer they hired. Doing this allowed them to work on higher yield tasks that made them feel equally energized and creative.

Next, you need to define who can do the work. You may not need to hire a specific person that is a ‘jack of all trades’. As a small business owner, gathering a support team of people who can help you is great. Defining those people and deciding when you can and will engage them in the work you need to do can help you keep within a budget and get the support you need. Using a company like Project Pros or a Virtual Assistant can free up 3-4 hours or more of your time.

Lastly, now that you’ve got someone, how do you tell them what to do? Micromanaging isn’t your style but letting it all go without follow up may not be good either. In Brene Brown’s book Dare to Lead she outlines the TASC approach.

Who is responsible for the Task?

Do they have the authority to be held accountable?

Do we agree they are set up for success?

Do we have a checklist of what needs to happen to accomplish the task?

A further discussion of what the outcome or completed task will look like is an important conversation to have. It’s what Brene Brown describes as “painting done”. Beyond communicating what the end product needs to be, the discussion should be around how it will be used and what the purpose of the project or task is. To uncover hidden expectations and intention, sharing the reason for the task helps growth and learning while also growing buy in and contribution. Borrowing from Brown’s work, I will often ask a client to ‘Paint TASC”.

Want to learn more about delegation? Join me for a talk at Groundwork on February 4th from 12-1. Sign up here.

Margo Crawford is a Productivity Coach and Professional Organizer with Wave Productivity. She works with CPA’s, serial entrepreneurs, small business owners and business professionals to help them get more focused, organized and productive in their workplace. She coaches by phone nationally and in person in Phoenix, Providence and Boston. If you want to learn how to delegate effectively in your office call 602-677-8275 or schedule a consultation.