The Art of Delegation and Outsourcing

It’s not smart nor realistic to hire a full-time worker anymore. Delegation and outsourcing are the best alternatives to save time, money and energy.

If you’ve ever thought about delegation and outsourcing, one of your questions would be, “Should I delegate or outsource?”

Delegation and outsourcing are two powerful business tactics that a leader can leverage. It allows you to save resources, focus on critical tasks and empower your team. However, which scaling strategy should you leap toward?

We’ll break it down below and answer some of your brewing questions—what are delegation and outsourcing and how these two are different and more.

What is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing is the business practice of hiring an outside company to perform specific services that were once performed inside the company by the organization’s staff.

For instance, you’re outsourcing your website design to a virtual assistant. Of course, you’re expecting a desired outcome, unfortunately, you don’t have much say in how the result will be delivered.

What are the 3 Forms of Outsourcing?

  • Onshoring: outsourcing tasks to a third party within the same country as the company.
  • Offshoring: outsourcing a business function to a third party outside the company’s home country.
  • Nearshoring: relocating work or recruiting people from a neighboring country.

Benefits of Outsourcing

  • Access to a larger pool of talents that you might not be able to find internally
  • More time to focus on core tasks
  • Reduce costs
  • Improve efficiency with outside expertise.
  • Round-the-clock service
  • Better productivity

What is Delegation?

Delegation is the practice of handing work to someone else. Basically, you are transferring the responsibility of a task (including decision-making), which you might have done by yourself in the past when the workload was a bit lighter.

When the company scales and obligations become bigger, entrepreneurs pass certain business functions to another person.

No, you’re not dodging duties; you’re just freeing your time so you can focus on true management work like product development.

One way you can delegate your workload is by assigning a subordinate to manage some of your most time-consuming tasks, like compiling research and gathering feedback.

What Are the 4 Types of Delegation?

  • General or Specific Delegation

    General delegation is focused on the task at hand. Handing wide-ranging responsibilities to a person with no specific directions on how to accomplish the work. The tasks that usually fall into this delegation type require creativity, and the third-party provider gets immense freedom.

    In contrast, specific delegation is assigning a certain task to someone else with clear and concise directions, requirements and expectations. This is the delegation tactic, perfect for highly structured tasks that require a particular skill set.

  • Formal or Informal Delegation

    Formal delegation is a more structured process of delegating tasks with more clearly defined responsibilities, authority and expectations. This type is often used in large organizations where everything is properly documented.

    On the other hand, information delegation is less structured and happens in a more informal arrangement. This, however, is used by smaller companies where there’s a high level of trust and collaboration.

  • Top to Bottom or Bottom to Top Delegation

    Top-to-bottom delegation happens when high-position personnel assign work to members in a lower position. Hierarchical organizations often use this type of delegation system.

    Bottom-to-top delegation is the opposite, assigning tasks to a person with a higher position, just so every low-level staff member can come up with new ideas and contribute to the project.

    Delegating with this type is more beneficial in a more collaborative structure that can be found in small companies and startups.

  • Lateral Delegation

    Delegation of this type involves delegating responsibilities between peers at the same level of the company. Lateral delegations work best when the team operates in parallel with its own set of functions and responsibilities.

Benefits of Delegation

  • Having control over how the work is done
  • Get to develop the skills of team members.
  • Foster a culture of trust and improvement.
  • Encourages a collaborative team environment.
  • Saves more time.

How to Delegate Tasks Effectively?

Sharing your burden with team members is crucial for overall productivity. Thus, it’s important to work with the right person and constantly track their performance and progress.

Here are some helpful tips to ensure effective delegation:

  • Choose the Best Fit Candidate for the Job

    Pick the right person for the job. To do that, you have to think of the range of responsibilities and weigh in the capabilities of the person you’re considering for the role. You must know your team members well enough to accomplish this—from their strengths down to their preferences.

    By aligning tasks with the employee's interests, they can accomplish the job and exceed expectations.

  • Focus on the Result

    Instead of trying to make your team members work in a certain way, allow them to be creative and focus on the desired outcome. Tell your employees what needs to be done and trust their own judgment and knowledge—let go of control and let them impress you.

  • Entertain New Ideas

    Yes, you’re delegating, but at the end of the day, you will still have the ultimate authority over the project’s trajectory. Though that might be the case, you still need to include team members to some extent when it comes to decision-making.

    Learn to embrace new perspectives, even if it means diverging from the original plan. By doing so, you’re showing a willingness to adopt superior opinions coming from team members.

  • Monitor Your Team's Progress

    Letting go of control doesn’t mean letting your workers do things without establishing some kind of standard. As the leader, it’s your job to make sure the project is progressing in the right direction.

    That said, make time each week to discuss whatever questions or issues are encountered throughout the tasks and give suggestions to resolve these obstacles. That way, you can ensure the team is on track and allow open communication to be present.

  • Empower Your Team

    Empowering your team means inspiring them to always perform at an optimal level. One way you can do that is by offering incentives and expressing gratitude.

    By highlighting achievements, you’re creating a positive working environment where competition is anything but healthy. You’re also instilling a sense of appreciation for their efforts, which will motivate them to be consistent and exceptional.

What is the Difference Between Outsourcing and Delegating?

Don’t confuse the two business practices; delegating and outsourcing are different. The former is about assigning tasks to someone inside the organization, while the latter is about contracting someone outside the company.

Delegation is a more leadership type of practice where you communicate your needs. Though you can influence how things are done, you are handing tasks to someone else in a way that they can manage on their own without going back to you.

Outsourcing is a bit more technical when you simply need something done and pass it to somebody else who can do the job. Here, you will have limited control over the outcome and risk being too dependent on your external provider.

Both of these approaches can be optimized to reduce workloads dramatically. These are weapons that you can use to operate seamlessly, even when you’re not there.

  • What Is Delegate Sourcing?

    Delegated sourcing is a hybrid sourcing. It’s a structure where one supplier or provider is responsible for delivering the entire part of the job instead of just one aspect of it.

Should You Outsource or Delegate?

The decision on what to choose between delegation and outsourcing depends on what you need.

Outsourcing is best when you’re handling tasks that do not directly affect the revenue-making ability of your business, such as mundane, repetitive tasks.

It works when nobody inside the organization has the capacity to accomplish the task or when the task needs specialized skills. Most importantly, outsourcing is best when the cost of building an in-house team is far greater than hiring a freelancer to handle the project.

Delegation, however, is the key to your work-overload woes if there’s someone inside the company who can do the job. There’s no expertise needed, and you have an existing process that can be optimized. If the cost of hiring an external provider is greater than that of working in-house, then delegate.

Wrapping Up!

Delegation and outsourcing are essential to boosting your company’s efficiency. It’s not really a matter of which one to choose; the point is to share your burden with others so you can get to your bottom lines much faster.

Lead with a clear focus and improve together with your team. Hire the expertise you need to get your desired results. Learn to trust. In this time and age, you can’t win just by working harder, work smarter.

On that note, begin delegation and outsourcing today. Find your dream virtual assistant with us!