The Art of Successful Delegation
As your school grows you’ll soon realize that you can’t do everything by yourself. While there will be certain jobs that only you can do, there will be others that you can delegate to a vendor, a staff member or a leadership team participant.
Regardless of whom you’re delegating to or ordering services from, you’ll need to have excellent communication skills to convey what you need. If you’re delegating time-sucking tasks at your school that most anyone could do, you’re still going to need to provide proper training, clear expectations, and to inspect what you expect.
With that being said, when you’ve freed up some of your time, you can focus more of your efforts on working with students, marketing, retention, etc.
Make Your Wish List
One of the easiest ways to begin delegating effectively is to make a list of everything that you do. Put your initials next to all of the items that you do not want to delegate and that will be for you to continue to do.
Next, highlight the very simplest five-to-ten tasks on the list that just about anyone could easily be taught to do and that you’d be willing to delegate.
These are the best tasks to farm out or train someone else to do first. They should be the lower-risk items on the list meaning that if they get screwed- up a little, nothing bad will happen to your business.
Write the person’s name who you’d like to delegate each task or the type of business service you’ll need to employ to take care of each item to make it easy to get started.
Communicate How Each Task is to be Done
Each time you delegate a task to someone, explain concisely how it needs to be done. Consider providing written step-by-step directions for them to follow.
If the task is for a staff or leadership team person, then provide face-to-face training on how to do the task, and when appropriate, walk them through it several times until you’re satisfied that it will be done properly.
Expect to coach them a bit especially in the beginning as they may be a “white belt” at the task you gave them.
Give Deadlines and Expectations
If you’ve asked a staff member to make a series of attendance calls when they get a moment, don’t be surprised when two days go by and the calls still haven’t been made. After all, you said when they get a moment…
Always let them know what to expect and when you would like something finished. If you’d like attendance calls made, be sure they know who to call, what time of day you’d like the calls made, if they can leave a message and where to record the results of the call for example.
Unless you’ve hired a mind-reader, the more specifically you voice your expectations to the person helping you out, the happier you’ll be with the results in the end.
Inspect What You Expect
It’s been my experience that school owners that attempt to delegate don’t always take the time to properly train a person in the first place or to communicate deadlines and expectations.
To make matters worse, they don’t check to see if the task is getting done properly or audit the results just to make sure.
This can lead to frustration and a fear of future delegating.
Imagine having someone keep your daily statistics but you don’t review the information that is input each night making sure that it matches your income, daily calls, attendance records, etc; If they’re not accurate on one day- that will throw your weekly/quarterly and annual stats off too.
I’m not trying to discourage you from delegating, but am saying this. Invest the extra time it takes, in the beginning, to train and explain how and what needs to be done, and expect to need to provide extra coaching for a while before deciding you don’t have the right person for the job.
Becoming a good delegator and building a team of bench-strength will help you grow your business.
Action Steps: What to do now
1. Make a list of everything that you do for the school and place your initials next to the tasks that you do not want to ever delegate out.
2. Review what’s left on your list and select 5-10 items that you’d be willing to delegate. Write down the name of the company or the name of the person that you would want to delegate the task to.
3. Start with the easiest task first and delegate it out until you’ve taken 5-10 tasks off your plate. Focus your energy on higher priority items.