As a business owner or a manager you’re probably wondering where all your time goes every day. There are so many urgent tasks that require your attention, and no matter how many time management tactics you use, you still can’t find time for yourself. Wasn’t being boss supposed to be about playing golf or schmoozing on your yacht with clients?
The real question is, do you really need to spend time on the tasks that are eating up your time? You might realize that most tasks that are urgent aren’t necessarily important. A great productivity hack born out of this realization is to outsource or delegate these tasks.
Here are five ways to use your connections to outsource tasks:
1. Start By Asking Yourself Two Questions
When you start delegating tasks, you need to ask yourself two important questions:
1. Where can you add the greatest value to your team’s performance?
As a manager, your time is probably worth a lot - you don’t want to be spending it on low value tasks. Based on your business goals, you need to determine which task you must take on and which you should delegate. For example, the founders of Google were deeply involved in the hiring process in their early days. Once the company had grown and there were more important things for them to do, they delegated that task to someone else.
2. What skills are needed on your team to accomplish your goals and allow you to play that value-added role?
The skills that your team members possess determines who you can delegate tasks to. You want to ensure that when you delegate tasks, you don’t need to hold their hand all the way. Their skills need to be in line with the task you are delegating so that you can play a value-added role by telling them what is needed rather than how to do things.
2. Ask Your Employees A Few Questions, Too
Delegation requires a team effort. Simply dumping a bunch of tasks that you don’t want to do on to your employees is not the best way to go about it. You need to ask your employees what tasks they would like to take on and whether they think there are tasks that you handle that makes more sense for them to handle.
Asking these questions will help you find out if there are areas they can handle with less supervision, or if they need more help in certain other areas. By talking to your employees and getting their feedback, you can more effectively allocate tasks.
3. Develop A Small, But Simple Operations Manual
It’s hard to let go of tasks that you’ve been handling all along. Not because you miss doing them, but because you’ve done them for so long you believe you are best equipped to handle them. Most people don’t delegate simply because they don’t think another person can do it correctly.
Overcome this is by creating a process manual that your employees can consult when needed. Write down the steps required for each task and be precise so that there’s no ambiguity. Every time the task is re-delegated, this manual can be passed along.
4. Have A Quick Assignment Meeting
When you officially delegate a task, have a meeting with the person you are delegating to. Set up goals, deadlines, benchmarks and other important metrics. The idea is to equip the person with everything they need to know, ensuring they have read and know the operations manual, to perform the task effectively.
Make it known to the employee that once you have handed over the task you will not be constantly supervising them. They need to realize that they have full responsibility for the success of the task. When you finish the meeting, make sure the employee is crystal clear about what needs to be done and has no more questions for you.
5. Don’t Forget To Check-In
Delegating a task doesn’t mean handing it over and forgetting about it. Set up a recurring meeting to check in with your employee for a progress update. This will help you stay on top of things and make any corrections that are required.
Don’t follow up too often because it might imply you don’t trust the employee enough to handle the task. You want to find the right balance, so that your employees know that they’ve earned your trust.
Now that you’ve successfully outsourced tasks to your employees you can sail to Thailand and relax on the beach.
Okay, maybe not. You probably have more time for yourself and other important activities. Hopefully, you won’t feel like your tasks are running you and that there is always something you have to do right this instant.
Tell us about your outsourcing successes or failures. Do you have any interesting stories or insights?