What is Delegation and Why It Is So Important in Salon Business

The definition of delegation is “the act of empowering another to act for oneself”.  It is basically the process of delegating tasks, responsibilities and authority to an individual team member or to the entire team.  By delegating tasks, you can focus on higher-level duties, allowing you to be more productive with your time.

Delegation refers to the transfer of responsibility for specific tasks from one person to another.  It is a vital management skill and for some managers, it is the hardest to put into practice.

There are several reasons why managers may shy away from delegating work, for example:

  • Your might think it would take longer to explain the task than actually completing it yourself.
  • You want to feel indispensable to your team by being the keeper of knowledge and expertise.
  • You enjoy completing certain projects and therefore prefer not to reassign them.
  • You feel guilty about adding more work onto another person’s to do list.
  • You lack confidence or trust in who you need to transfer the project to.
  • You genuinely believe that you are the only one who can do the job right.

Whatever the reason, it is important to continue honing your delegation skills, as refusing to learn to delegate can have negative consequences.  Not only will you overload your schedule and end up prioritizing the wrong tasks, but your team will miss out on valuable learning and growth opportunities.

Delegation of tasks may make managers feel uncomfortable, anxious or stressed because of the fear of losing control or the quality of the work will suffer.  Delegating to others may also be perceived as an admission of weakness or incompetence as some may be concerned that other will judge them for not being able to handle everything themselves.

Some people think that delegation and allocation of tasks are the same thing, but there is an important distinction to be made between the two:

When you allocate a task, you are merely instructing a subordinate to carry out a specific action.  You tell them what to do and they do it.

However, delegation involves transferring some of your own work to another person.  They do not just receive a set of instructions.  The important differentiation is that they are placed in a role that requires that they make decisions and are held accountable for completing the task.

Delegation also refers to leveraging other people’s time to increase your quality time.  By delegating tasks, you can focus on higher-level responsibilities, such as strategic planning, while teak members work on tasks that require additional expertise and experience.  This allows you to focus your time and energy on tasks that are important and have greater impact on the salon.

Delegation Tips for Salon Managers:

  1. Know what to delegate.

Not every salon task can be delegated.  For example, performance reviews or any personal matters must be handled by you.  However, several other day-to-day activities don’t have to be carried out by you.  Are there tasks you always do that maybe somebody else on the team is better able to complete?  Would assigning certain projects to other team members empower them to be more confident and motivated in their roles?  

  1. Play to your employees strengths and goals.

Every team member needs to have goals they are working towards and within these goals you will find opportunities to delegate.  The type of work you delegate could factor into their professional development plan.

When a person has a higher change of excelling, they are more motivated and engaged, which can only benefit the entire business.

  1. Define the desired outcome.

You have got to learn to have real clarity about the objective in order to delegate effectively.  Your team cannot read your mind.  This includes having alignment on the expected timeline, how your will be measuring the accomplishment and what does the outcome look like.  Simply dumping work onto someone else’s plate is not delegating.  The projects you handover must come with proper context and a clear tie into the salons’ goals.

Before anyone starts a delegated project or task, they must know what they need to complete, by when and including the metrics you will be using to measure the success of their work.  Don’t delegate anything until you figure this out.

  1. Provide the right resources and level of authority.

If the team member you are delegating work to needs specific training, resources or authority to complete the task, it is your role as manager to provide this.  Setting someone up to fail will backfire; the person won’t be able to achieve the desired outcome and the job will end up back on your to do list, causing all round frustration and disappointment, leading to poor morale.

  1. Resist the urge to micro manage.

Telling a person, step by step, how you would do something and then controlling each part of the process won’t enable them to learn, gain new skills or feel confident.  Instead, focus on what the desired end goal is, why the task is important, and help to address any gaps between the expected outcome and their current skill set.

Establish effective communication channels so that the person you are delegating to feels comfortable to ask questions and provide progress updates.  Set up regular check-ins and provide feedback throughout the learning process.

  1. Make space for mistakes.

You need to have a safe space for mistakes, not because you want the person to fail, but because it will enable the person to experiment and empower them to take a new approach.  Mistakes are a great learning tool.  If you become open to new ideas you will have an easier time delegating in the long-run.

  1. Have patience.

As a salon manager, you are likely to have more experience in your area of expertise.  Because of this, something that might take you half an hour might take somebody else a whole hour until they become more familiar with the tasks.

Think back to the first time you completed a specific task – you possibly weren’t as efficient as you are now?

As you improve and continue to delegate, your team will become more familiar with their new duties and you will begin to notice that the work will get done faster over time.

When delegating, remember to give credit and praise when it is due.  Recognising that success is because of your team has the added benefit of making everyone more engaged and your salon more successful.  The more you credit those you have delegated work to, the more likely they will want to help more going forward.  Never forget the benefit of a well placed ‘thank you’.

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