Love and Machining: The Importance of DelegationPerhaps this will sound familiar to many of you. You started your shop from nothing, just you and a couple of folks to run the machines. Now your shop has gotten bigger and as your shop has grown, so have your headaches. There isn’t enough time in the day anymore to finish everything and it’s putting a strain on your home life. Relax. There is a solution. As they say, good leaders do, great leaders delegate. Most people’s reaction to this idea is to cling even harder to their tasks. No one else can do it like you do, but maybe that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes a new set of eyes can see a better way to do something. One of the most important parts of being a leader is training people under you to take on more responsibility. Once you begin delegating, you can remove yourself as a bottleneck in the shop, take a vacation, have more time to plan ahead, and spend more time with your family.


Bottlenecks Are a Pain in the Neck

Obviously, you work hard to eliminate as many bottlenecks as possible in your shop. However, you may have to consider if you are a bottleneck. Are there frequent questions that only you can answer? Are there some common processes that need your approval? You may be a bottleneck and if so, it’s time to delegate. Can you train someone else to answer those questions or give that approval? Even better, can you train multiple people? If you’re constantly answering questions from the floor, which leaves you no time to do other things, and it means some jobs might have to wait on you. If answering questions from the floor takes a few hours from your day and you have other things you need to do, then you’re coming home late again and missing out on dinner with the family. If you’re able to train all of your employees on the answers to some of those questions, you’ll save yourself a lot of time and make your workflow faster. For the more complex situations, even if you train just one person to answer those questions or approve those processes, then you remove all but the most difficult questions from your day. If you train several other people how to handle the difficult situations, then your employees have many options for who to ask. As long as you choose your people wisely and give them good information, you free up a large part of your day, which means you’re able to leave on time and go home. If you’re able to remove yourself completely from the day to day running of the shop, that’s even better.


Take a Vacation

Does everyone in your shop know how to handle day-to-day business as well as the surprises that may pop up? Once you’ve delegated enough, your shop should be able to run without you being there at all. This might seem crazy, but it is great for your shop. As the owner and leader of the shop, your time is better spent on figuring out a long-term plan for your shop or larger strategic goals than worrying about daily business. Having your shop run without you is also a great way to test if you’ve delegated enough tasks to the right people. So, for the good of your shop, you should take at least a week’s vacation with your family, and don’t answer emails or phone calls while you’re gone. The employees you delegated to will be able to make decisions and gain confidence because they can’t lean on you to give them the answers. They’ll have to come up with the answers themselves, and they can see you were right to give them this responsibility. You’ll have time to relax, and the time away will help you think of bigger and better things for your shop. In addition, you’ll be able to really spend time with your family without checking your phone every ten minutes. Everyone will be benefit from this, and unplugging will allow you to think about where your shop could go in the next five to ten years.


Plan Ahead

Have you been looking for the time to improve your shop? With any improvement plan, you’ll have to sit down and see what needs to be changed and how before you start doing anything. In short, it will take time and if you’re doing everything in your shop, time is one thing you don’t have. Delegating is a necessity, otherwise you won’t be able to plan where you shop is going in the future because you’ll be overwhelmed with what’s happening now. Even if your plan for the next few years is set, if you’re handling everything from the small questions to the big picture ones, you’ll probably find yourself working almost constantly with no time to relax at home. If you can train someone to take care of the smaller problems, you’ll be able to focus better on the bigger problems, and lower your stress level. In addition, by delegating more responsibilities, you’re training people below you to take on leadership roles. As your shop grows, you’ll need to add more managers and by delegating now, you know you’ll have folks who can handle being a manager when you get to that point. Delegating helps you, your employees, and your shop. In addition, delegating can help your family.


Time at Home

Once you’ve delegated out several responsibilities, you’ll be able to leave the shop when you hope to and spend time with your family. You’ll be able to make your time count both at work and at home. You can be there for the important moments for your kids, spouse, and whoever is important to you. You will feel more like you’re living your life and less like you’re tied to the shop. With less to worry about, your stress will get lower. With the time to plan ahead and look to the future, rather than getting bogged down in the daily details, you’ll become more inspired for how to grow your shop. With a more reasonable schedule, you’ll be able to get enough sleep and feel more energized. All of this will help you to make the most of your time. The key is balance. Balance between work and home as well as between the tasks you do and those you delegate. Once you find this balance, you’ll find yourself able to conquer more with a clearer mind. You can grow your shop, even when the inevitable problems come your way, and still be there for your family. Essentially, when you delegate effectively, everyone wins.

One way to delegate without overloading your employees is to use technology. Using an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system can help with scheduling, accounting, workflow, and more. Check out our brochure to see if E2 is the right ERP for you.

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