As business owners, we all know that delegation is important. Entrepreneurs who insist on doing everything themselves will end up burning out — that much is obvious.

Now, here’s the tricky part: Most business owners think they’re delegating, when they’re actually “dumping”.

When you’re delegating a task, it’s not as simple as telling your employee, “Hey, can you take care of that marketing campaign for me?” and calling it a day. You’ve got to give your employees a defined deadline and set expectations clearly, among other things.

Remember — your employees aren’t mind-readers. If you “dump” instead of delegate, you probably won’t get the results you want, and you’ll end up giving yourself more stress instead.

To ensure that I’m delegating effectively, I came up with a 6-step process that puts myself and my team members on the same page. Feel free to steal it and use it in your own business:

1. Explain why the task needs to get done.

Here’s a rule that I live by:

When you get your employee’s buy-in, they’ll be that much more invested in their work.

When delegating, always explain the task objectives to your employee, and tell them how this ties into the company’s goals as well.

2. Provide them with as much resources as they need.

The more resources and reference material your employee has, the more equipped they’ll be to handle their tasks. We’re talking style guides, sales manuals, and all that good stuff.

3. Break down tasks and set priorities.

If you’re getting your employee to work on a huge project, break it down into bite-sized tasks which are easier to tackle.

Your employee will probably be working on multiple things at a time, so let them know which tasks are the most important. This way, they can better prioritize their time.

4. Set deadlines.

Having concrete deadlines in place prevents overworking, as well as unnecessary delays.

5. Set expectations and consequences.

First, define your key metrics, and tell your employee what results you want to achieve. If they’re working on a marketing campaign, you might be hoping to generate 50 leads within a month. If it’s a new sales strategy that your employee is pushing out, the goal might be to increase the closing rate from 40 percent to 50 percent.

At the same time, talk about the consequences if these expectations aren’t met. This creates accountability, and incentivizes your employees to perform at their best.

6. Check in during the process.

After delegating a task, you still need to check in with your employee from time to time, to ensure that they’re on the right track.

Unless you’re working with an A-player with a proven track record, it doesn’t make sense to go completely hands-off. Check on your employee’s progress every week or so, and address any problems or challenges that they may be facing!

Cool — you’re now an expert on delegating. Time to apply this process to your company, and start delegating more effectively!

An important last note: Don’t go too far with delegation. No one respects a leader or a boss who delegates everything, and being an absentee owner is just as bad as being the guy who micromanages his employees.

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