“It’s just easier to do it myself because I know it will get done right.” Chances are you’ve had that thought, even if you’ve never said it out loud. Though this may be true, it’s not a sustainable approach to running your dealership.
As your business grows and changes, you’re not personally viable — if only from a time standpoint — to be in charge of everything. What’s more, that approach stunts growth. In fact, by delegating 20% of your tasks to others, you can actually grow your dealership by 20%. You must remember, though, that delegating tasks is not the same as dumping tasks.
Trust is the foundation for successful delegation within the dealership. Employees have to trust that you won’t give them something they can’t handle. You have to trust them to perform the new tasks to the best of their abilities.
Empathy, logic and authenticity form the basis for that mutual trust. Convey empathy by expressing your willingness to listen to employees’ problems and find solutions. An easy way to do this is to put down your mobile phone when talking with an employee. This shows that you’re fully focused on them. It also sets an example of how they should interact with others.
Logic is another aspect of delegation to which many take the wrong approach. For instance, before you ask an employee to perform a task, you may provide reasons as to why the request is being made. You might talk about how your schedule is overloaded or how it’s time for them to take on more responsibility. The problem with that approach is that it may muddle your request or might cause the employee to become suspicious. You also may only have a few minutes before you are interrupted.
Instead, start by explaining the task you need to hand over. If additional background is needed, then you can fill in more details.
Authenticity, the remaining component of successful delegation, is based on your commitment to the employee’s success. Give them the training or tools they need for their added responsibilities. Don’t leave them stranded or it’s likely the job won’t get done or the employee will feel resentful.
Following the INCA Principle
Delegation is really about decision-making, and sometimes you need to seek support outside the dealership. Keep the INCA (which stands for immediate, negative, concrete and accountable) principle in mind in those situations.
For instance, an expert can help if you lack certain expertise and there could be negative consequences following a wrong decision. Or, your decision could influence future policies, making it “concrete,” and you or your dealership could be held accountable for the outcome.
Employee issues, such as harassment claims, immediate terminations or health insurance often meet the INCA guideline.
A good way to identify tasks you can assign to others is writing your own job description. Then, compare those duties with these three things a dealership leader should be responsible for:
- Casting the vision (“Where are we going?”)
- Creating the strategy (“How are we going to get there?”)
- Developing the people (“Who do I need to make this happen?”)
Consider starting slowly in handing off tasks, and for each task you delegate, be sure to provide tools and training. Then, regularly check the employees’ progress to see if they require additional tools or training, or are ready for another assignment.
By incorporating delegation into your management approach, you can help avoid burnout and find new ways for your dealership and your employees to grow.