By Laura Wallace | July 13, 2017
The idea of delegation sounds miraculous. Something needs to be done and there are people to do it. All you have to do is give them direction and let them do it. Problem solved! The sticking point is usually in that last part… letting go.
There’s a fairly common mindset around delegation that “no one can do it better than I can, so I might as well do it myself.” Sound familiar? Or, “I can just do it faster.” This often creates anxiety, frustration and added stress. Here’s what happens in this scenario:
The person delegating feels like they never get anything done. They wonder how they have so much to do but so little time to do it. If they do delegate, they feel anxious and worried about how it’s getting done and how long it’s taking.
The person who it was delegated to feels micromanaged. They feel like nothing they do is right and lose interest in the task. They feel like they have a lot to give but aren’t being fully utilized for their skills. They feel frustrated and unaccomplished.
How do we overcome this obstacle? A study from the Harvard Business Review found that delegation is one of the most important tasks as a leader, yet is one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management capabilities. As a leader, one of your primary tasks is to teach your team and your customers how to think and ask the right questions. This sets both parties up for success. The best way to learn how to delegate is to practice.
What are you holding back from?
Consider what your fear of delegation is. What do you perceive will happen if you don’t perform the task? By identifying those fears, you can start to welcome them to be part of the journey vs. the driving force. Practice leaning into those pain points and allow the person you’ve delegated to the opportunity to shine, showing you what’s possible. Chances are you’ll learn something new! And if something does go wrong, so be it! Things will evolve and new communication styles will be born. But you have to give it a chance to feel the relief.
Delegate to the right person.
You have 100 tasks to complete on a daily (or hourly) basis. Who is best fit to take some of those items off of your plate? Is there someone in your office that is best fit for an organization that can help you with your schedule? Even delegating outside of your organization can be beneficial. Take your branding and marketing for instance. You may have the know-how to perform these tasks, but how could someone outside of your organization better propel your brand? You’ll gain new ideas and see better results, not to mention have some free time back!
Get out of the way.
Your support team wants to help. If you’re working obscene hours but others are twiddling their thumbs, there’s a good indication that you should be delegating. Once you commit to giving someone a project, give them all of the details necessary to succeed. Give them a chance to ask questions. Show them where they can find all the things they need. Give them outlined expectations and timeframes. And then get out of the way. People don’t want to be micromanaged or have someone standing over their shoulder. Empower your people by giving them something they’re good at and letting them do it. It’s like a muscle, the more you flex it, the stronger it gets.
We have a saying in the office, “Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.” We all know how to do a lot of things, but if we do them all, we do little. However, if we each take a few things that we do really well, we can do those things really, really well.
Here are a few areas to consider delegating in your business:
• Branding and marketing
• Organization and scheduling
• Payroll and accounting
• Office cleaning
• Subjects you struggle with but continue to “push through”
Delegation is a beautiful thing. The more you do it and feel the relief, whether inside your organization or outside of it, the more you’ll feel the positive impact it makes on your health, time and sanity.