How to Get Your Company to Run Without You: The 4 Degrees of Delegation

If you’re like most business owners, you probably give yourself a decent grade. However, if you’re constantly finding yourself disappointed in people on your team, the problem may be less about them and more about your ability to delegate effectively.

Delegation is clearly important, so why do so many small business owners fail to delegate tasks effectively? The problem comes down to thinking of delegation in a black-and-white fashion. Instead of thinking of delegation as binary, think of delegation as having four degrees, where each degree offers your employee more decision-making autonomy and authority.

FOLLOW MY LEAD

The first degree of delegation is where you trust an employee to follow your instructions. You create a Standard Operating Procedure and ask that they follow the steps you outline in your instructions. With first-degree delegation, your employee must follow your process. They are not being given any decision-making authority, and you’re not accommodating many variables.

RESEARCH & REPORT 

The second degree of delegation involves giving an employee a broader scope of responsibility to research the range of options for completing a project or task. You don’t have the solution in your mind, so you’d like your employee to do some thinking and come back to you with some options. You’re trusting an employee to do their own analysis and bring you a short list of options to consider.

DO IT & REPORT

The third degree of delegation involves extending decision-making authority to an employee. You trust your employee to decide, but you’d also like to be kept in the loop to coach them in their decision-making.

JUST DO IT 

The fourth degree of delegation takes a page out of the old Nike advertising campaign, which implored their customers to “Just Do It.” This level of delegation is used when you trust an employee to completely remove something from your plate.

If your goal is to build a business that can thrive without you, you need to master the art of delegation. Start by assigning a degree of autonomy you want your employee to have, and then outline a time-based or financial budget to work within.

Finally, encourage employees who get stuck to come to you with questions you can simply answer yes or no to, and you’ll find the number of problems that end up in your lap will diminish. All the while, you’ll be building a more enjoyable and valuable business.

Download the entire eBook

The 4 Degrees of Delegation


How would you rate your ability to delegate?  

If you’re like most business owners, you probably give yourself a decent grade. However, if you’re constantly finding yourself disappointed in people on your team, the problem may be less about them and more about your ability to delegate effectively.

 

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Ashley Brimacombe
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