The art of delegation: avoiding burn-out

The art of delegation
The art of delegation

Avoiding burn out is something that SMEs have to be on the look-out for. Not delegating can certainly lead to stress and anxiety, something that will be picked up on by the whole company…

According to the CIPD, absences due to instances of mental ill-health, anxiety and depression, are rising, with more businesses reporting employees being affected in 2014 than 2009.

Lucy Whitehall thinks delegation may be part of the solution: “Since the recession, we have been doing more work with fewer resources (be it employees, infrastructure or finance) and this pressure that many feel can contribute to high stress levels. Prioritising your time and delegating can help ease this burden and save you some precious time, which could be used to rest and recharge, and ultimately increase productivity. In a small team when working within a SME, this can make a real difference.

Delegation can improve employee morale too. Mallon feels that delegation can be empowering. “When you give employees specific responsibilities the result is a noticeable shift in attitude and drive. I’ve found that even small responsibilities, such as the training of new employees in certain areas, can make all the difference to an individual’s morale and overall well-being. People like to feel valued, so showing that you respect and trust them with certain tasks has a massive impact on their loyalty to the business and the drive to perform to the best of their abilities.”

How should you follow up on tasks that have been delegated? Your first instinct might be to immediately judge their output compared to what you might have produced. Firstly, it’s important to consider whether the task has been completed on time and to a standard that you’re happy with. Then, it’s important to reflect on whether the person who completed the task pushed themselves – it might not be as perfect as something you would create, but for somebody significantly more junior, this could be an impressive and notable achievement.

Take a minute to praise, or, if it’s a larger project, schedule a feedback session where you can touch upon what worked, and what didn’t. Delegation should become second nature and, with it, your business should thrive.

In tomorrow’s instalment of our delegation series, we show you the SMARTER technique…