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Growing pains: Learning to delegate to managers

July 24, 2017

Your business is your baby, and much like leaving your child with a babysitter for the first time, delegating to a manager can feel scary. However, working with a manager is a critical step for growing your business. Short of cloning yourself, finding someone you can trust—and then actually trusting them to do their work—is the best way to ensure your company’s success.

In the past, we’ve covered tips and strategies for finding and hiring the right manager. Now that you’ve found that person, it’s time to let them do the amazing work for which you hired them. If you’re having trouble letting go of the reins, here are some key steps you can take to trust in and delegate to your managers.

Assess your to-do list.

Start by zooming out and seeing the big picture. Make lists of tasks and responsibilities that fall on your plate each day. Mark those which could be accomplished by others. Of course, some of those tasks you might enjoy doing; earmark one or two of those for yourself. Similarly, identify which tasks are difficult for you, and consider which staff members have the necessary talent to take those off your hands. Try to be as honest with yourself as possible.

Start as a team.

The best leaders delegate by working with their managers, rather than just telling them what to do. Ask your manager to identify their strengths and interests as they relate to your business. Then, ask your manager for input on how they think certain aspects of the business can be improved. Starting with buy-in from your manager helps that manager be committed to the results and aligned with your business goals. The more excited they feel about their work, the better the outcome will be.

Ask for feedback.

Often, the hardest part of delegating is the feeling that you could do the task faster and better yourself in the time it takes to teach an employee or manager to do it. A manager might make some mistakes the first time. But, it’s all part of the learning process. It’s nobody’s fault if things don’t flow perfectly at first effort. Be open to listening to their ideas along the way. Stay constructive with your manager, explain what you’ve learned that requires a fix, and move on.

Delegating and trusting your manager with important parts of your business should create a mutual respect for you and your managers. If you don’t give room for managers to show leadership and innovation, you’ll never see their full potential. Create a culture where regular feedback on both sides is expected and appreciated, keeping an eye on sustainably growth benchmarks for your business. Schedule frequent meetings to check in on new tasks or responsibilities, and be open to constructive criticism.

Bottom line? Give your managers the tools and authority they deserve to be successful. Listen to what they have to say in terms of what they need, and trust that they will stay aligned with the principles and practices you’ve laid as groundwork. Trusting others with your child—er, business—will help you separate your identity from that of your product, and free your company to grow to new heights!

[image: Jennifer + Justin by Corey Balazowich on flickr]

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