November 24, 2020

Here are 4 ways to delegate tasks to your team

Amit Trivedi
Owner, Karmayog Knowledge Academy

“I do not know how to get work done from my team.” said Mr. Struggler.

“Some of my team members make some silly mistakes.” quipped Ms. Perfectionist.

“It is easier and less time-consuming to do things myself than to teach someone to do the same thing.” argued Mr. Doer.

Mr. Struggler, Ms. Perfectionist, and Mr. Doer were attending a seminar. During the networking break, they started talking about matters related to their respective businesses. The discussion moved on to the challenges of growth. It looked like the team was the bottleneck in all the cases. All three had numerous examples to support their arguments.

This is the story of many MFDs and IAs. In fact, this is the story of many small businesses. The result is quite predictable.

1. They end up doing their subordinates’ work
2. The friction increases, with the owner poking one’s nose in almost everything
3. Some do not hire any staff for the fear of such an eventuality
4. Why so? The behaviour of business owners is worth taking a look at.

The root of the problem

Why does that happen? What could be the reason behind such struggles?

1. The MFD/RIA loves one’s work and is great at it
2. Client first approach
3. Intent to offer the best possible service

The root of this problem lies in a completely unexpected area. It is unintended fallout of the wish to deliver the best to one’s clients.

Most small businesses, including the MFD and RIA, are centered around the skill set of the owner. In the initial days, it is lack of funds that prevents one from hiring staff. Then over the years, one develops such expertise that one feels it is almost impossible to transfer it.

In order to grow, one hired staff, and then ended up not just monitoring the work of the staff, but also doing some of the work that the staff should have done. And then the solution becomes bigger than the problem.

There is a solution to this, and it requires one to go through four steps:

1. HIRE RIGHT

a. Since you have hired one for help, it is essential that you hire right. Identify the tasks that you want to be done by the staff and then hire accordingly.
b. Be clear about what you want from the employee. Look for skills and abilities that match the requirements of the role.

PRACTICAL STEPS:

• Don’t settle for an employee just based on pay. If they are not able to perform the task for which you are hiring them, even the lowest of salaries is a complete waste.
• Have a clear job description with a list of tasks to be delegated before interviewing a candidate. If you don’t know clearly what you are looking for in an employee, the chances of mismatched hiring are very high.
• Speak to peers and seniors in the industry who have been there, done that and ask for referrals for employees too.

2. TRAIN THEM

a. It is essential that your clients should not feel a change just because you hired someone to help you. Hence, it is important that though you have hired someone right, you need to train one for various processes that you follow.

b. Training could be frustrating for some. It takes time, and one may lose patience. Look at the argument of Mr. Doer in the beginning of this write up. It is quite normal. However, once a person is trained well, the focus and fresh ideas that one can bring to the table could do wonders for the overall practice. And that has been the experience of many successful MFDs and RIAs.

PRACTICAL STEPS:

• Set aside fixed training hours per week / month to be disciplined about it
• Prepare a training manual or SOP document that lists how to do all types of work within your establishment. This way, a one-time effort will greatly help train any number of employees who may join you in future.

3. SET THE EXPECTATIONS

a. This is a tricky part of delegation. We believe that the MFDs or RIAs need to be extra careful about setting the expectations.

b. In case of delegation, the expectations must be set right about (1) the results, and (2) the process. While some results can be achieved in multiple ways, the MFD or the RIA may want to get things done in a certain manner only. The way of working could be the trademark of the practice and that the clients would be used to getting the services and responses in a particular manner. Both need to be respected.

PRACTICAL STEPS:

• Train the new employees to do the work a particular way (if its critical to the performance of that role) from day one. Having them do the work a particular way for some time and then re-training them to do it your way is wasteful.
• Let them sit in on meetings, phone calls and other such roles that they may not need to perform right away but may be expected to in future. They will learn much more by observing you do a certain job a particular way in comparison to just being told how to do it.

4. BE PATIENT

After all these, huge amount of patience is required. There would be struggles, teething troubles, mistakes and one would have to live with that. However, as mentioned earlier, the results at the end of the wait are akin to the proverbial pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.

PRACTICAL STEPS:

• Set realistic timelines and explain them to the employees from the start, for example how soon would they be expected to perform a particular task completely independently.
• Have a “strike” system for errors, example the first two mistakes would be just reprimanded, but the third mistake or strike could face consequences. Use a carrot and stick policy but don’t surprise them with the stick. Let them always see it so they are mindful about making minimal mistakes.

What challenges have you faced while building up a team? What are some hacks you have discovered to make things work? Do share your views with us in the comments below.


2 Thoughts to “Here are 4 ways to delegate tasks to your team”

  1. Ronak Hindocha Ronak Hindocha says:

    Very relevant article, Amit.

    Totally agree about the importance of managing tasks. Infact, at IFANOW, we’ve built tech tools around this aspect.

    Specifically, the advisor can create task templates and manage important activities through that. Further, the advisor can create sub tasks, set timelines for each sub task, set default task/sub-task owner etc.

    This allows the advisor to be in control of the situation and get better organised.

    http://www.ifanow.com

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