Business Smarts: Learning the Art of Delegating - The Edge from the National Association of Landscape Professionals

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Business Smarts: Learning the Art of Delegating

When starting your landscaping business, you have to wear multiple hats, but as you grow some of these roles should be passed on to others in your company.

Sometimes company leaders will find they are reluctant to delegate others out of a fear that only they can do the job the “right” way or that it’s simply easier to do the job themselves. However, this mindset stifles both yourself and your employees’ opportunities to reach their full potential.

Being able to delegate allows you to focus on the visionary aspect of your job as the leader.


When trying to decide what tasks to take off your plate, examine your current workload. Make a list of everything you handle in your job right now. Compare this list to a description of what your job is as the business owner. It will be abundantly clear which tasks need to remain your responsibility versus those that can be assigned to someone else.

Tasks that are small, tedious or time-consuming are all jobs you should consider delegating to the right employee. Additionally, if there are some duties that you simply have no skill in, such as creating the marketing materials for a mailing campaign, don’t be afraid to delegate this task to someone better equipped.  

Select the Right Employee

A major aspect of delegating is designating the right employee for the job. You need to have a firm understanding of your staff’s strengths and weaknesses, their current skills and workload.

Ask questions like who needs to learn how to handle this specific responsibility, who has time to take on this job and who would like to have this opportunity. Seek feedback from your team to find who would be best suited for a job. When you do pick the right employee for the job, make a point to tell them why they were chosen. Help them see that these new tasks are an opportunity to take on more responsibility or learn new skills.

Train New Skills

You might think when there’s no one who has the necessary skills to take on a particular task you’ll have to keep doing it. However, don’t be afraid to take the time to train someone. Yes, it may take more time at first to get the employee up to speed on how to do something, but it also opens the door for assigning similar tasks to them in the future as well.

Make sure you provide the tools and resources your employee needs to effectively complete their delegated tasks. Also, understand that delegation not only requires assigning someone the responsibility for a task, but also the authority needed to produce results. Empowering your workers will give them the self-confidence to continue to achieve more.

Trust, but Verify

For some, delegating can seem concerning as they are giving up control, but it doesn’t mean you are checking out. Provide clear expectations and deadlines and trust your employees to get the job done. Agree to a schedule of check-in times to make sure the project is moving along as planned.

Managing by exception means that you can assume everything is on track. Your employee only has to reach out when there’s an exception which may prevent the job from being done on time or at the accepted level of quality. Stay in touch and provide guidance and feedback, especially if this is the first time the employee is handling a certain task.

Recognize a Job Well Done

When an employee has successfully completed a task you delegated to them, take the time to thank them. Expressing your appreciation and letting them know what they did well inspires loyalty and satisfaction in their work.

If someone has fallen short, opt for constructive criticism and ask for their thoughts to make sure you’re delegating to the right person and providing the necessary tools.

Jill Odom

Jill Odom is the senior content manager for NALP.