How to Delegate Work Effectively in Your Massage Practice, MASSAGE Magazine

Are you the one doing all the work? Are you working all hours of the day and not taking any time off?

Since a small business owner often does it all, it is easy to get caught up in doing all the work, all by yourself. The problem with this is you will create more work for yourself and end up feeling frustrated and overworked. Does this sound familiar? Are you overworked and underpaid for the time and effort you are investing in your business?

There is one simple thing you can do to change this: delegate. Did you just shudder and think, “Oh no, that is definitely not possible”? It is—and not only is it possible, it is necessary for the health and well-being of your company.

One of the most difficult things for a business owner to do is delegate. After all, isn’t it easier to do it yourself rather than explain the task to someone else? Not to mention being bugged about it after you delegate it and worrying whether it is getting done or not—and worrying about if it will be done right.

Yes, in the short term it is often much easier to do it yourself —but in order to truly grow as a leader and take your business to the next level, you must practice the habit of effective delegation.

Always put delegated tasks in writing; using a form with time lines is helpful. When things are in writing, it means there is less chance of a miscommunication. When you micromanage, it takes up your time and is frustrating to your staff; it doesn’t allow them to show you what they are capable of; and it stifles their ability to think on their own. It doesn’t allow them to make mistakes they can learn from, and it doesn’t foster a great working relationship. As an effective leader, you will create an effective team by allowing them to shine.

If you don’t have staff but are in a group practice and you find yourself taking on the bulk of the work, this is a great tool to use to distribute tasks that need to be done. If you don’t step away from handling everything, then your business will suffer.

Steps to delegate effectively:

In order to create successful outcomes for yourself and the person you are assigning a task to, use these effective delegation steps.

• Define the task and your desired outcome.

• Establish a time line for completion and check-ins if the task contains several steps or if you need to determine the next action to be taken during the process.

• Select the right person. Match up talents to the task.

• Clarify expectations and set specific parameters.

• Provide background information if necessary.

• Determine the level of delegation and define level of responsibility:

  1. Have them take action, but report back to you.
  2. Have them recommend the action that should be taken pending approval from you.
  3. Have them present to you several actions available to take.

It is up to you to be as clear as possible about the outcomes you expect and by when; not providing a deadline is often the biggest trap in delegating. So remember this when delegating: Provide a clear expectation of outcomes and date for completion.

The first few times you delegate may be challenging, and the staff member will more than likely handle the task differently than you may have. Obviously, they are expected to do what was laid out for them, but sometimes their perception of how to go about it will be different. You may discover that their perspective or new way of doing things will benefit your business.

Eliminate your overwhelm and frustration by assigning some tasks to your staff. Be open to how they are achieved, and pry your fingers off of that control wheel to free yourself up.

Now you can work on your business, instead of in it.

Shelene Taylor started the International Association of Massage Business to share with massage biz entrepreneurs the proven strategies, systems and tools that she uses in her own successful multimillion-dollar massage business in Tucson, Arizona. Since she started from scratch, she is intimately familiar with all aspects of the massage business and has a passion to share her experience so that others can create a thriving business and touch the world with their gift.

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