If you are a manager, leader, business owner or parent, delegation is an essential – not optional – skill to practice.
You can’t grow, your business can’t grow, nor can the people on your team (or family) grow or mature if they aren’t given the instructions and authority to continually develop new skills and responsibilities. So, sorry to have to tell you, but if you aren’t regularly and effectively delegating, you aren’t doing a very good job as a manager, leader, business owner or parent.
If your time is maxed out to the point where you feel you don’t have time to review, plan, create, recharge and/or collaborate, that should be a sign that it’s time for you re-evaluate what you are doing and create a list of persons to whom you can reassign tasks.
There are actually two sides of the delegating process that trip-up people the most:
- Deciding what to delegate/let go of
- How to delegate so tasks get done as needed
Decide what to delegate. Just because you could do it all doesn’t mean that you should. Growth and improving your productivity means you will need to get better at picking and choosing the things on which you choose to spend your time. Here are a few tips to help you start the process of letting go.
Start paying closer attention: better yet, make a list or keep track for a week of all of things that you are doing. (I have found that most people really have no idea where much of their time is spent.)
Once you have a better idea of where you are spending your time, ask these questions:
- Is doing this task keeping you from doing something else even more important or something that is keeping you from moving to the next level?
- Are you doing something just because you think no one else could do it as well as you?
- Are you doing something because you are afraid to lose power or so others will be dependent on you?
- Are you doing something just to “out-do” or show-up someone else?
- Are you doing something that you don’t like or aren’t very good at? If so, do the math and determine how much time and money it could save if you delegated/outsourced it to someone that could do it quicker or better.
- Are you doing it because you dread the process of having to teach and depend on someone else to follow-through? If this is the case, let’s move on to the other common side of delegation, how to do it effectively.
How to delegate effectively – this may take lots of practice but when you get good at it, it’s a total game-changer.
So what is the difference between asking/telling someone to do something and delegating something to someone? At the heart of the answer, it is the relationship.
The definition of delegation is the process of assigning a task to someone who has the skill, motivation and/or interest to successfully complete the task, as well as giving them the authority to carry it out.
Here are some tips and questions to ask yourself as you assign tasks to others:
- Is the person capable? If not (or not yet) what do they need to learn, know or get in order to be able to complete the task in mind?
- Can I, or have I, clearly defined the desired end results? Do they know exactly what the expectations are – budget, time, aesthetics, etc.?
- Is the person positively motivated to do it? What can they gain, learn or earn as a result of completing the task successfully? Do they want to gain, learn or earn these items? “Sell” them on the benefits of doing the task well.
- Communicating the task and/or the expectations both verbally and in written form can help improve understanding. For example, if you delegate something to someone over the phone or in a meeting, let them know that you will send them a quick summary of the task in an email.
- Make sure that the person to whom you have delegated the assignment has been given the proper access and authority to any necessary information and that they are comfortable with asking you questions along the way.
Remember, the thing about time is you have to learn how to let go of it in order to have more of it.
For more information on what, how and why Kimberly does what she does, check out www.kimberlymedlock.com