December 06, 2017
Often our to-do lists become a big messy pile because we struggle with effectively delegating. The truth is that unless we can master delegation, our business will suffer. Deciding what to not to do in your business is as important as deciding what to do. We cannot possibly be good at everything, and some tasks aren’t the best use of our time. Let’s take a look at some best practices for improving the way we delegate.
First, we need to know the difference between delegating something, and dumping it on someone. Most of the time, we dump, and this is why we have had bad experiences in the past. Delegation means that the person receives both the responsibility AND the authority. If we are dumping, chances are we are only looking to have someone do the dirty work. In order for delegation to work, they need the task and the trust.
Next, we have to make it interesting, challenging… and also fun! No one wants to spend all of their time on menial and boring stuff, and yet, that is often the most commonly delegated. So, how do you make those tasks more attractive? Use delegation as a way to help others learn new skills and stretch out of their comfort zone. People often do their best work when they are facing a challenge. Also, whenever possible, tell them the outcome you want, not the specific steps to take. They may surprise you and find an entirely new way to accomplish it – a way that might even change the way you do business in the future!
Don’t delegate in a vacuum. Tell the team or others involved that you have delegated and to whom. This ensures that responsibility and accountability is passed to the right person, and everyone is clear on who is doing what. The goal is not for you to be the go-between on everything.
A critical part of effective delegation is making sure that you are also providing the right tools to accomplish the task. Who, What, Where, When, and How are great reminders of this. WHO will they go to for help if they need it? WHAT details do they need to know? WHERE can they find the resources they’ll need? WHEN does it need to be done by?And HOW will this help them grow their own skills?
It’s also super important to remember that delegating a task to someone doesn’t mean you can wash your hands of it and walk away! You are still responsible for providing feedback and accountability. The more you help them learn and develop, the better they will be at helping you!
Lastly, keep an eye on what is missing in the process – and what is potentially not working. If you find yourself getting pieces of the project back, you either have the wrong strategy and systems, or you have the wrong people. Also, don’t create situations where parts of the work have to come back to you to complete. Reverse delegation is only going to cause you more frustration.
Learning to delegate effectively isn’t easy for many of us. But the better we get at it, the lighter we’ll feel about our goals and our to-do lists. Start with these reminders and put them into practice today. Delegation can be a struggle, but if it’s done effectively, it will allow you more time to build relationships and serve your people.