When your business first opened, it made sense to wear all the hats. You made managing staff schedules, marketing, reporting, student communication, and bookkeeping look so easy when in reality, your list of responsibilities was overwhelming. That was until you started delegating effectively.
Using the power of other people’s help can have a huge impact on you and your business. And while some make delegating tasks look easy–to do it effectively takes communication and trust.
Why is it important to delegate tasks?
As a business owner, director, manager, or whatever your role may be, delegating tasks is important because you can’t–and shouldn’t–do everything yourself. Through delegation, you can empower your team to grow professionally and build trust along the way.
Benefits of Delegation in a Youth Activity Program
You can find dedicated time to focus
Acting as both a leader and team member will leave you feeling overwhelmed by growing to-do lists, requests, and details of class and staff management. Before you know it, making sure the lights stay on in your building will feel like a burden. When you take the pressure of completing all the day-to-day tasks yourself, you’ll empower yourself to be laser-focused on growing your business and inspiring your students and staff.
You’ll have time for your next great idea
Here’s the painfully honest truth about doing it all yourself. Business-changing A-ha! moments don’t come from being elbow-deep in the nitty-gritty of business operations. They hit you when you give yourself permission to step away from your center and take a clarity break.
Taking a minute (or twenty) away from your gym, studio, or swim school allows you to see the bigger picture and, more importantly, the potential you could unlock if you gave yourself some time back to dream big.
You’ll become a better leader, coach and mentor
Let’s get real. Most owners and managers I talk to insist they delegate perfectly. But when I talk to their instructors and staff, they’ll tell me that their bosses are total micromanagers who need to trust them to do their jobs.
The disagreement over the definition of delegation is actually a big reason this breakdown exists. A common misconception is that leaders view delegating as passing off the reins to someone else. In the case of a youth activity center owner who poured their heart and soul into a business, you can see where they’d be a little hesitant.
As business owners and leaders, we must break that pattern. Want to know how?
Look to those people you’ve surrounded yourself with and recognize the success you’ve seen your business attain with them on your side. After all, you hired smart and capable people, right? When you view delegation as enabling and teaching your team to do more, it’s a lot less nerve wracking to pass along tedious and time-consuming tasks.
How to delegate tasks within your gym, dance studio or swim school
Now that I’ve done the hard part of convincing you that delegating won’t ruin all the work you’ve done, it’s time to put together a plan to start the process. Putting a process in place to make sure that the right tasks are assigned to the right people, and that you keep a hold on to the ones that make your day more joyful, will help you prevent business burnout and stagnation.
Here are three tips to get you started:
1. Let it go
If we’re on the same page at this point, we’ve agreed that one of the toughest problems you’re facing is the inability to decide what is yours to keep and what you could and should be empowering someone else to do.
If you’re serious about delegating effectively, your first priority should be to write down all of the tasks you complete on a short-term and long-term basis and compare them with your current team resources. Identify who on your squad is capable and passionate about each project.
Once you’ve got tasks matched with each person, you might find your seats or titles need adjusting and that’s okay! In fact, it is the best outcome for this exercise. Imagine, you’ve done the work and not only can you delegate but you can elevate your team at the same time!
2. Set deadlines and priorities
Make sure your team knows what you are working toward. Each contributor should be familiar with their own goals, as well as the goals and tasks of their teammates. As a great leader, and a new delegator, you should paint a good picture of where you’re starting and what done looks like. But here’s the tricky part, then get out of the way and let them decide how they’re going to get the job done without you.
Setup a kickoff meeting with everyone on your team and lay out all of your check points and due dates. If it’s the first time you’re meeting, a visual spreadsheet or task list will give each player something to hold on to and refer back to when they need it. Set up check-in meetings to reassure them. Just like you, they’ll need a little time adjusting to the new norm.
3. Be available to listen, learn, and advise
While you may shift more responsibilities to your teammates, you’re still an integral part of the team. Make sure your directors, admins and instructors know your commitment level and are able to find you easily when they’ve got questions, concerns, or roadblocks. You have to learn to crawl before you walk, right?
5 common traits of leaders who delegate tasks effectively
They are fair-minded and metric-centric
Owners and directors who can delegate effectively in their gyms, dance studios, or swim schools can easily identify the right performance metrics for their teams and hold staff accountable to them. You’ll be able to do this because you’ll finally have the time to collect the data, look at the story your numbers are telling you, and distribute that information with action plans to correct or continue the growth.
They foster open, honest, and candid conversation
Great leaders have high expectations because they’ve hired intelligent and capable employees. What they are also fantastic at is staying open minded and considering new approaches to problems that arise. Just as you trust your team to execute on their tasks, they should also trust that they can come to you when roadblocks or issues come up.
No matter how empowered your team is, you are still their leader, mentor, and advisor. If they stop asking you altogether what you think or how you’d solve new problems, start worrying.
They seek out the right resources to provide solutions
The most effective leaders offer their teams robust and powerful tools to manage their classes, staff, and parent relations. It would be unfair of you to expect your team to have innovative solutions to increasing enrollment, improving retention, and expanding in your community if they don’t have access to the tools and technology they need to make an impact.
They show investment in their team’s task list
There is a huge difference between an off-site owner and a great delegator. Read that again. There’s nothing wrong with being off-site and letting someone else run the show, but that definitely doesn’t mean you are an excellent delegator.
Great delegators still show up and show their team that they value the work they’re doing. There are things about your program you will always be passionate about and even when you delegate, you’ll want to inspire change and progress there. That’s not something anyone would want you to let go of.
They celebrate every win – big or small
Reward exceptional work when you notice it happening. Delegating should give you more chances to be on the lookout for coaches, instructors, and admins who are providing great customer service, mentoring, or solving problems in creative ways.
Think you’re ready to get a handle on this delegation thing? Park your expectations and privilege at the door. It takes courage, strategic thinking, and a little humility to delegate in ways that will drive productivity, engagement, and success in your facility.
Regardless of the risks you might be taking, delegation is a sure-fire way to free you up to be the leader you always dreamed you could be and to watch for future leaders in the making. Delegation isn’t always easy and it doesn’t come with clear-cut instructions but the sooner you start, the sooner you’ll find a cadence that works for your team, your business, and you.
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