5 top tips for effective delegation
Do you feel like there is a lack of time to focus on important tasks? Do you find yourself swimming in admin that someone else could be helping with?
Delegation is one of the hardest skills for a business owner – I speak from experience! However, the ability to delegate and most importantly, delegate effectively, is a key part of being a successful leader. Free up your time by learning a few tips on delegation and share these with your team too.
Preventing business growth by lack of delegation
Upon business set up it is often vital for doctors and dentists to get involved with everything, taking on all manner of tasks in the practice.
This is typically due to a lack of an alternative resource but it also helps to establish business systems and processes in advance of passing them onto another person in the team.
Those business owners that continue to try to do everything run the risk of either serious “burn out” from the hours they have to put into operating the business and / or preventing the business from being able to grow.
Why people don’t delegate
To be able to delegate effectively it helps to understand first the reasons why people don’t
delegate. Almost always it is related to the mindset of the business owner. This includes:
You may find yourself saying things to others, or yourself, like:
- Not taking time to consider alternative ways to do things
- Not being open to change
- Poor communication
- Unable to relinquish control
- “It’s quicker if I just do it myself”
- “I’ll delegate this task next month” (then repeating this every month)
- “I’m actually the only person with the skills to do this task properly” (which, may be case – but not all the time)
- “I don’t like to ask”
5 tips to delegate effectively
TIP 1: Correctly assess what tasks can be delegated.
Document your workload so you can first correctly analyse the tasks that can be delegated and which are essential to remain with you. Some tasks you may even find can be eliminated if you see they are of no use to the business and are a drain on your time and resources.
By keeping a “work diary” of all tasks for at least a week should enlighten you in seeing a true picture.
Read more: Manage your time to maximise your profits
TIP 2: Hire the right team
Delegation does require trust so it’s important to get the right team in place. Explore your options and ensure that there is a good communication channel between you and the key members of your team.
If communication doesn’t come easily to you then work on building a strong relationship with your practice manager who can then delegate to others on your behalf… then build on this set up.
Ensure communication is regular, thorough and consistent and the following is applied:
- Respect for everyone in the team
- Listening and hearing others opinions
- Ensuring actions follow
- Be honest
TIP 3: Document everything first
Before delegating anything it helps to have the system, process, script, expectation and result documented. This way other members of your team have something to refer back to, and, it bullet proofs your business further too as essentially anyone should be able to ”step-in” when required if someone leaves the team, is off sick or has other, more important tasks that day or month.
TIP 4: Give the full picture when delegating
This is where just “delegation” starts to become “effective delegation”.
To use a simplistic example:
Scenario 1: You ask Sue, the receptionist “Sue, rearrange Mr Jones appointment, please.”
Scenario 2: You sit down with Sue and say “Sue, it appears Mr Jones needs to see the hygienist before coming to see me. His appointment is tomorrow. Can you call him, within the next hour, and see if you can move his appointment to Thursday instead? See if Sally (hygienist) can move her lunch so Mr Jones can keep his appointment slot tomorrow. We had to cancel his last appointment when I was sick so I really don’t want to upset him. If I need to, I can work late on Thursday to accommodate him. Let me know the outcome before I leave the office today. Any questions?”
Taking the key points from the above example, apply the following when delegating:
- Wherever possible, give the person the whole task to complete
- Ensure you “download” all information you know about this particular case or task so they stand the best chance to complete it in the same way you would
- Share the desired outcome or result so they know what is expected of them in completing this task – make sure they know the importance of it
- Identify deadlines, timeframes, if and when you want feedback as well as any measures for the successful completion of this task
- Ensure they are happy with your instructions before you finish the conversation
TIP 5: Take responsibility
Even when delegating a task the responsbility should remain yours until the task is complete. Don’t abdicate, be there to guide and oversee the task when required.
If a task is low priority and requires few skills to complete then it may be possible for you to just step aside. Others tasks though will require interim reviews and others more hands on attention.
To delegate effectively understand the skills of the person you are delagting to.
If it is the first time they have done this, spend a bit more time with them. It is likely then not only will the task be completed to a higher quality but also next time you may not need to “micro-manage” them to the same level.
Figurit share business tips with our clients via our blog. If there is an area of your practice management you find difficult and need advice on let us know. We can create a bespoke article for you and share it – it’s likley that other practice owners will struggle with the same thing.
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