Most people need to be better at delegating. There are three reasons for this. First, leaders need to create more time to work on strategy, marketing and driving traffic, and actively growing their staff. Second, delegating helps future leaders grow and develop. Third, retail can sometimes get routine, and giving people additional responsibilities results in a more engaged workforce that’s more emotionally connected to the business.
However good a delegator you already are, here are seven tips that can help you be even better.
1. Let go. It’s okay to not do everything yourself and, more important, it’s okay that others don’t things perfectly. The margin of error for most what we do (except involving money and high priced products) is pretty wide. Let go and let others contribute. You and staff will be the better for it.
2. Give yourself a daily or weekly delegation goal. A lot of people who say they need to be better at delegating really just need to delegate more. The first step is to get into the habit. Setting a daily or weekly goal for yourself keeps the need to actively delegate right at top of your list.
3. Delegate the things you like to do. When I was a store manager I delegated tasks all the time. Of course, it was the boring stuff I had no interest in; things like cycle counts, filing paperwork, etc. Good for me, but not so good for my team. I was appalled when my manager suggested I do this, but it worked! This is especially important if you don’t have time to do everything you need to.
4. Don’t insist that people always do things the way you do them. Sometimes there is a documented process that needs to be followed, like checking in merchandise. Sometimes there are many ways to do something that all end in the same result. It’s okay to let people find their own way. It might just be a better way.
5. Use delegating as teachable opportunities. Telling people what to do is easy. Teaching people why and how to improve is harder and takes more time, but the return on your time investment is huge. Remember: Teach, don’t tell.
6. Stop fixing other people’s mistakes. As I said earlier, delegating is a learning experience for the employee. If they don’t do something right, take the time to teach them how to do it the next time. Just fixing it doesn’t teach anybody anything. If they still can’t do it right after you’ve taught them, then you need to rethink whether or not they’re the right person to delegate the job to, or if they’re even right for the position. The same holds true if they didn’t do what’s been delegated at all. Don’t do the task/action yourself, but follow-up and find out why the action was not taken.
And that connects right with our seventh and final tip.
7. Build specific follow-up expectations and accountability into the delegation itself. Many people struggle to delegate because they’re fearful things won’t get done, and even worse the task/action will fall through the cracks. That’s an easy fix. When you delegate give very specific expectations, and then put the accountability to communicate completion on the person being delegated to.
As an example, “Bob I need you to run the report and identify the top 100 customers by 3:00pm today, and please send me an email letting me know you’ve completed it or if there is a problem.” Then write on your list “Bob-3pm?”
So let me ask, which one of these tips can you apply today?
Reprinted with permission from Doug Fleener of Dynamic Experiences Group. A Retail customer experience consulting firms that helps companies improve their customer experience and their sales results.