How to Start Delegating
Step by Step Guide to Delegating
Are you someone who loves perfection? Most small business leaders do. They work very hard in an attempt to achieve perfect outcomes – controlling every little detail and decision, while making never-ending tweaks along the way. Getting caught up in the details can be a huge time suck, which is especially dangerous for those who should be concentrating on more important tasks (ahem, you). But, guess what? There’s a much better and faster way to achieve great results.
You have to delegate.
For your business to succeed, you have to let go of the day-to-day tasks. And yes, when you let go, the results are not always going to be perfect. But even the great Sheryl Sandberg (COO of Facebook) famously states, “Done is better than perfect.”
So, if you’re ready to become a better leader and get more stuff done, here’s how to start delegating ASAP:
To maintain the quality (and quantity) of your work, you have to accept the fact that you need some help. Admitting that you need to give up control and delegate work is a huge step. Letting go shows that you are committed to the betterment of the business, your team, and yourself. What’s more, it shows your clients that you care, too. When you get help, you’ll get more work completed, which makes for happier customers.
“Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” - George Bernard Shaw
Take a look at your typical work day and draft a list of tasks that your team members have the ability to take on. Keep in mind the knowledge, credentials, authority, and time required for each. Big or small, list everything you do that can be handed off to someone else either internally or via outsourcing. Don’t just think about project work, think about the little things too, like answering the phone. A virtual receptionist (or auto attendant) can handle this simple, yet time-consuming task for you.
“You can do anything, but not everything.” - David Allen
Discuss the opportunity
Keep in mind that there are people who stand to benefit from taking on some of your work. Sit down with your candidates to discuss the opportunity to handle the work, and avoid posing it as a burden. Taking on new, important tasks can build paramount skills, experience, and knowledge.
“Leaders don’t create followers; they create more leaders.” - Tom Peters
Invest the time required to teach your delegate what needs to be done, step by step. Do all that you can to set them up for success. Outline expectations and offer to coach along the way. Do this right from the start, despite how long it takes or how challenging it seems. In the long run, you’ll be glad you did.
“The key to a successful leadership today is influence, not authority.” - Ken Blanchard
As you monitor progress, there will be times when you will feel like it will be easier and faster if you simply went ahead and handled the work yourself. This is not “letting go.” It shows that you don’t trust your delegate to be up to the task. In turn, members of your team will feel micro-managed and insecure as a result. That doesn’t make for a happy, productive team. “Great leaders build trust and collaboration while focusing on developing people’s capacities rather than focusing on their limitations.” - Leithwood Et Al., 2014
Don’t check out once you’ve handed over the reins. Provide space and autonomy to your team to get the work done, but check in with them from time to time to evaluate progress and provide feedback. Also be sure to ask for ideas. Your delegates may have new, interesting and creative angles that you may not have thought about. Another benefit of delegating!
“The role of a creative leader is not to have all the ideas; it’s to create a culture where everyone can have ideas and feel that they’re valued.” - Ken Robinson