The Art Of Delegating

Posted on May 16, 2016

Written by small-business expert and author Michael Stone

Delegating IllustrationMost of us have more things to do than time to get them done, and we’re constantly looking for another hour in the day. Unfortunately, we won’t find more hours in our day. So, either we need to accept that some things won’t get done, or we can change the way we get them done. We can delegate.

Delegating is a scary word for some. We don’t believe that anyone can do a job as well as we can. If we take a chance and delegate a task to someone else, there isn’t any guarantee that the job will be done right, on time or at all, for that matter. There’s also the problem of training someone else. How good of an instructor are you, and do you have the time and desire to do the training? When you stop and think about how much effort it takes to train someone, you might decide it’s just easier to do it yourself.

These thoughts will make you believe it’s better not to delegate, until time passes and you realize that the things you’re supposed to be doing aren’t getting done. The best way to get things done properly is for you to do what you do best and let others handle the rest.

There are two important points to keep in mind when it comes to delegating: make sure you’re clear on what needs to be done, and agree on a time frame for completion. Here are some other tips to consider:

  • If you need to train someone, make sure to be available to answer questions or lend a hand if needed during that time. You’ll likely be tempted to jump in and do it for them or correct them on little details, but try to keep your hands out of it unless you’re asked to step in.
  • Don’t hand a project to someone who’s never done that type of work before. You may find yourself on a rescue mission that takes more time than you’ve saved.
  • Accept that the job might not get done the way you would have done it, and it might not get done right the first time. Give your helper some slack. Let them make mistakes without going ballistic on them.
  • Keep track of your projects, both who has them and their progress. Ask for periodic reports so you know that progress is being made.
  • Make sure you praise in public and correct in private. If you treat others with respect, most people will bust their behinds to help you get things done.

It’s important to stay focused on the little things that can make a difference in your bottom line. Delegating might or might not be a difference maker in your business, but it can definitely make a difference in your life. The time you gain can be quality time with your family – time not spent worrying about what needs to be done.

Michael Stone

Michael Stone, author of Markup & Profit: A Contractor’s Guide, Revisited, Michael Stone HeadshotProfitable Sales: A Contractor’s Guide, and the DVD class “Profitable Estimating,” has more than five decades of experience in the building and remodeling industry. Stone offers business management assistance to construction-related companies in the U.S. and Canada with books and training programs available on his website, as well as coaching and consulting services. He can be found on the web at and can be reached by email at or by phone at 1-888-944-0044.