There’s only one thing that can’t be delegated

Posted by Heather Villa, CMA, MBA, MSM on June 17, 2009 in: Business - Plain & Simple, Delegation for Success

With the coaching I do here and the services that IAC Professionals offers, it’s no secret that I’m a believer in delegation. It makes good business sense to delegate, especially when the person you’re delegating to costs less to do the task than the equivalent of your own hourly rate.

A small business owner might contract with a virtual assistant to take on some of the administrative work, and a large business might delegate its day-to-day functions down from the executive to middle management (or its sales functions to a sales team or its manufacturing functions to the factory, etc.), however, there remains one function that cannot be delegated; it MUST be done by the business leader:

Vision-casting. The role of the leader is one who casts vision, who directs, who inspires, who leads. As a leader, you can delegate absolutely everything else but you must direct it all by pointing everything in the right direction.

Your business will do well if that is what you do all day. (Disclaimer: The smaller your company is, the more likely it is that you’ll have to do other things, too!!!)

Vision-casting is about envisioning the future state of your company and creating the ideals and values and goals that will drive your organization. Now, I realize that for some business people, that sounds “touchy-feely” and not really the way to do a solid, profitable business. But if you are going to multiply your efforts, you’ll do it through delegation, and in order to delegate appropriately, you need to give vision.

I think back to my time working for other people, before I owned my own businesses. The ineffective managers would say: “Heather, first I need you to do this, then I need you to do that, then I need you to this third step, and then I need you to follow it up with steps four and five.” It was all laid out for me. Compare that to the managers who were far more effective (and, no surprise, more enjoyable to work for). They’d say: “Heather, we need you to do a job and ultimately the intended outcome of that job is this. Get started any way you think is appropriate and if you need some suggestions, let me know.”

Huge difference! One treated me like a programmable robot that simply performed a series of tasks in a predetermined order. The other gave me the end-goal and let me find my way. Who knows, by using the latter form of management, I might find a more efficient way of getting the job done.

As a business owner, or a manager, or as anyone who needs to delegate tasks – the most important thing you CAN’T delegate and you MUST give is your vision for the project.

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I love working with coaches, freelancers, and entrepreneurs to help them become more successful. If you'd like to improve your business, find out how I can help.

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