Let's be honest, delegating is tough! Especially if you are like me and it's easier if I just do it. OR it is faster if I just take the time to do that report - showing someone will only take twice the time because I'll have to check their work. Well I'm here to tell you something...you are not alone! This is extremely common. If you tell me you are good at delegating, I would ask how long you have been practicing. We are going to explore some solid tips to be a master delegator and free up some of your time.
Let's first, reframe what it means to delegate...
Have you ever had a boss or supervisor that refuses to teach you something? Or worse, had a boss that takes on every project and task assigned by their boss, and in the process they become intolerant to you and the rest of the team? I want you to sit in those feelings for a moment. How did that experience make you feel?
I had a supervisor who wanted to do everything herself. She didn't want to share anything. I would ask, "what can I help you with?" And the response was always, "nothing, I'm all set". After awhile I stopped asking and instead had to observe her behaviors and what she was doing. In the end that supervisor was let go by the company (maybe this had something to do with it). I was not prepared to take over tasks because I had not been trained properly.
Don't be that supervisor. Be better.
Delegation is a formula - it is five simple steps.
Step 1 - Match the task with the strengths and passions of the appropriate team member.
To be a successful delegator, you must know your team. Either choose the member based upon what you know of them and what makes them tick OR ask the team who wants to setup and help on a project or task. A little tip I like to use too...align the task with the position that best aligns with the task being delegated. If your organization has precise job descriptions, let this be your guide.
Step 2 - The member must watch you do the task.
This step is about the awareness of the task. This is a great opportunity for you to see if the task is a good fit for the team member based upon their questions, or lack there of.
Step 3 - Do the task together.
Time to coach! This is a perfect opportunity for the team member to ask questions and find the "why" behind the task. And you can start to give away little pieces of the task and see how they do with it. Give feedback as necessary.
Step 4 - Let them do the task while you watch.
This is test time. This step is crucial for building confidence in the overall process. Let them ask questions. And better yet, ask them questions! See how they respond to gauge if they really understand the task at hand.
Step 5 - Set a feedback schedule and let them go.
Now that you have found the right fit, have offboarded your knowledge, and have confidence in the team member's ability, make sure you check in frequently. Set your feedback schedule based upon the frequency of the task. Try to avoid micromanaging.
This isn't a step but be sure to show appreciation for the help on the task. Showing gratitude is the best way to give back to your team member.
Take your time through this process, be patient and understanding. Both with the employee and yourself. Remember that people are people and they make mistakes. You have made and will continue to make mistakes, put forward the same kindness to your staff.
I'm going from doing all of the work to having to delegate the work - which is almost harder for me than doing the work myself. I'm a lousy delegator, but I'm learning." - Alton Brown
Keep that in mind, you are learning.
In case you aren't convinced yet, here are some top reasons to delegate.
Manage burnout - yes, by avoiding delegating to your team you ultimately get burned out! Don't do that to yourself.
Lowers moral - by not giving to your team, you are lowering overall morale. You are indirectly telling your team that they cannot do it. That they are not as valuable as you are. And that you are not in need of a team.
Huge liability - you are creating a huge liability for your department and the company by not delegating appropriately. If you are part of an organization that frequently updates the succession plan, you know what I'm talking about.
Lowers motivation - your team will not be motivated to help each other if you do not let them help you.
Overall benefit...you create the strongest team at the company. You will be envied by other department heads. Your team members may be inclined to stay with the company longer because you are challenging them. They are building their own confidence and they are repeating your behavior across the company and the department.
Remember that statement at the beginning? It is faster if I just take the time to do that report - showing someone will only take twice the time because I'll have to check their work. LIE. In-fact, if you take the time to follow the 5 steps above, you will save yourself and your team member so much time in the long run. - This is an investment of time and resources.
The biggest obstacle, practice. Practice. Practice. Practice. Your system may look different then that listed above, and that is okay. But what remains is that you at least try.
If you want to reach out to speak to me about how to hone in your delegation practice, click the button below.