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SOME sheep and wool industry business owners and operators – particularly those who have built a business from the ground up – may be become jack-of-all-trades, having been involved in every aspect of business operations and management right from the beginning.
Those individuals know what works and what doesn’t and have implemented procedures and practices that have contributed to the growth and success of their business.
While this versatility and insight is important when starting out, for businesses to continue to grow and maintain commercial competitiveness, one person cannot be relied upon to do everything. There comes a time when delegation to team members is required.
When done right, sharing responsibilities and giving workers the opportunity to step-up can boost productivity and competence within the team.
However business success is a collective effort between managers and staff and delegating does not mean overloading extra responsibilities and work onto team members so others can sit back and relax.
The benefits of delegating:
- Maintains motivation, confidence and eagerness among team members.
- Provides more opportunities for team members to develop new skills, knowledge and confidence to progress their careers.
- Can allow the business as a whole to operate more efficiently.
- Business owners or managers can commit time to identifying opportunities for growth or greater productivity.
- Fulfilment in seeing team members develop and thrive within the business.
Judging when to delegate:
- Team members may have specific skill sets, competencies or interests in a task and have expressed a desire to gain greater responsibility.
- If the business is experiencing busy times in production demand and there is increased workload.
- If business owners or managers need to focus on urgent responsibilities.
Judging when NOT to delegate:
- As a business owner or manager, do not delegate a task that you would not want to do yourself i.e. do not palm-off tedious work or tasks onto other team members.
- A team member may not be experienced, up for the challenge or may be overqualified for the task at hand.
- The task is too big, or is a persistent issue. If business owners or managers cannot solve the problem, it cannot be reasonably expected that a team member resolve the issues.
Delegate effectively by considering the tips below, and let it be a win-win for both parties involved:
Select the most appropriate team members
Know your team members; what are they capable of and what past experience and skills do they possess which could assist in completing the task at hand? Team members value being asked to assist with a task in an area in which they have worked before or if it provides the opportunity to grow their existing skills and step-up.
By investing the time in getting to know your team members during the recruitment process and once they have started in the business, any tasks that may need to be delegated can be to the most appropriate person. A team member may have expressed that they wish to gain experience in a certain area in which the task may offer. By providing team members with the opportunity to build their skills, the team remains motivated and productive.
Communicate what the task is and promote two-way communication
Clearly communicate the purpose and objective of the task, their responsibilities and any timeframes in which the task is required to be completed within. Remember, delegating does not mean dumping extra responsibilities onto team members without the opportunity to provide feedback.
Establish trust by gauging how the team member feels about the task and responsibility and if they have the time to complete it.
It is also important to encourage two-way communication to ensure that both parties are on the same page and understand what is at hand. A leading hand may have been tasked to assist in an aspect of the day-to-day operations of the farm manager who is required to focus on improving operational efficiencies. As part of this communication, it may be beneficial to practically demonstrate the task.
Provide ongoing support and check in regularly
Depending of the task that has been delegated, checking-in regularly with the team member allows to see how they are going as well as the progress of the job. Are they on time? Do they have all the equipment/materials they need? Have they run into any hidden obstacles? Have they already completed the task efficiently and properly?
Provide constant communication, support and positive feedback to maintain and encourage a proactive environment in which team members can openly discuss any achievements or concerns they may have encountered.
This is also a time in which any areas for improvement can be raised both in relation to how the task itself has been instructed to be completed as well as team member performance. Ideas and solutions to overcome this can be brainstormed together and in turn new ways on completing the task can be implemented for the future.
Reward a job well done
Has the team member taken the opportunity to gain responsibility or grow their skills and ran with it? Has their can-do attitude resulted in the delegated task being completed on time and to a high standard? If so, it is important to recognise and reward team members who are going above and beyond to contribute to the business.
People appreciate being recognised for their hard work and by doing so, also shows their manager is willing to acknowledge their achievements. Recognition in the form of a congratulatory announcement during a team meeting, in the business’ internal newsletter or just a simple thank for example can go a long way.
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