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Table of Contents

Lead Story

Data breaches, more than bad publicity

News

Industry Update

Insuring against compromise

Negotiating the economic currents

U.S. court trims AmEx's clause

ACH network gets more mobile

Features

GS Advisory Board:
Challenge breeds opportunity - Part I

PCI Compliance for Dummies

Sumedh Thakar and Terry Ramos

Standing together against online fraud

And the nominations are

Selling Prepaid

Prepaid in brief

eCommLink refocuses, targets global remittance

Data breach leads to payroll card fraud

Event Innovation Inc.
Stored value - That's the ticket

Views

Coming in from the cold at NEAA

Patti Murphy
The Takoma Group

The HMS odyssey

Ken Musante
Moneris Solutions Inc.

Education

Street SmartsSM:
Rules by which to thrive, not dive

Jason Felts
Advanced Merchant Services Inc.

How to write right

Nancy Drexler
SignaPay Ltd.

Dead-on delegation

Vicki M. Daughdrill
Small Business Resources LLC

Keep an eye on the store

Adam Atlas
Attorney at Law

The lowdown on downloads

Dale S. Laszig
DSL Direct LLC

Company Profile

TransFirst Holdings Inc.

MicroBilt Corp.

New Products

Giving salons, spas the Midas touch

TouchSuite Salon POS
Company: Invenstar LLC

RDC, scanner tandem for small merchants

Dep@sit
Jack Henry & Associates Inc.

Inspiration

Cut back without cutting out

Departments

Forum

Resource Guide

Datebook

Skyscraper Ad

The Green Sheet Online Edition

February 23, 2009  •  Issue 09:02:02

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Dead-on delegation

By Vicki M. Daughdrill

The new year is in full swing, the economy continues to struggle and generating new customers is a top priority for every business. You've set your goals for the year, created a budget to achieve those goals and positioned your company to realize its potential. You've organized your office and worked at managing your time. Now, it's time to focus on actually running your business.

Owners of successful businesses exhibit a variety of management skills, including the following:

In the coming year, I will discuss each of these topics. I will begin with the fine art of delegation.

It is a widely held belief that the success of a small business depends on the owner's ability to delegate effectively. There is simply not enough time in each day for the owner to complete every task necessary to assure that the company continues to grow and thrive. Like many other skills, delegation is a learned process. Becoming an adept delegator is challenging; it requires learning to let go, allowing others to make decisions and accepting consequences - including work that is perhaps not exactly as you would complete it had you done it yourself.

Why should I learn to delegate?

Delegating tasks to others has the following benefits. It:

When should I delegate?

Part of the learning curve is knowing when to delegate. Here are some guidelines to help you. It is appropriate to delegate when:

How do I learn to delegate?

Here are eight steps that can lead to smooth delegation of work:

  1. Evaluate the skill sets and interests of your employees, and determine the appropriate person for each task you want to delegate.

  2. Delegate the entire task, both the responsibility for the task and the authority needed to accomplish the task.

  3. Clearly explain your desired outcome while focusing on the result, not the process.

  4. Ask employees to summarize their understanding of their assigned tasks, including anticipated results or outcomes.

  5. Request ongoing status reports on the delegated projects, and provide appropriate feedback.

  6. Keep communication lines open without hovering, but still remaining available for clarification and assistance as needed.

  7. Assess progress on a regular basis and, if at all possible, work with employees to fulfill tasks rather than take the work back - an action that demoralizes employees and provides you another task to complete.

  8. Finally, evaluate the completed tasks, reward employees for their performance and accomplishments, and remember to reward the results, not the methods used to complete the project.

What shouldn't be delegated?

Part of the learning process is to know what to delegate. The following are duties business owners or managers should never delegate:

Where do I begin?

Here is a brief quiz to help you evaluate your ability (and willingness) to delegate. Answer yes or no to the following 10 questions:

  1. Do I feel it is easier to complete a task myself rather than train someone else to do it?

  2. Do I worry that delegating assignments will reduce my authority within the company or that I will be perceived as less valuable?

  3. Do I find that my employees don't complete the tasks I've delegated?

  4. Do I feel there are only a few of my employees who can handle delegated tasks?

  5. Do I believe I should be able to complete every task by myself and without help?

  6. Have I been told that I micromanage tasks that have been delegated?

  7. Do I "take back" delegated tasks when it's clear that an employee won't get it done on time?

  8. Do I avoid delegating because I believe my employees are already overworked?

  9. Do I often assign tasks or assignments in the hallway or on the spur of the moment?

  10. Do I sometimes delegate responsibility for getting a task done without delegating the appropriate level of authority?

If you answered yes to five or more of these questions, consider devoting time to further developing your delegation skills. Significant tools exist to help you learn this essential management skill. A search for "delegation" on one Internet search engine produced 599,000 hits; books and seminars on the topic abound.

In this challenging year, take extra time to enhance and strengthen your management skills. The survival of your business may depend on it.

Vicki M. Daughdrill is the Managing Member of Small Business Resources LLC, a management consulting company. E-mail her at vickid@netdoor.com or call her at 601-310-3594.

Notice to readers: These are archived articles. Contact names or information may be out of date. We regret any inconvenience.

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