How Can we Become Better at Delegating?

Delegation is an issue that anyone who finds themselves in a leadership, management or supervisory role has to deal with. This article is based on the discussions my TEC – Trusted Advisors group dealt with at a past session. I trust you may get some new ideas or be reminded of what you should/shouldn’t do relating to delegation. By mastering the art of delegating, you will dramatically increase your productivity and be able to focus your time and energy on reaching your goals, being more effective in your business and personal life.. The ideas are presented from the perspective of “Delegator” – the person delegating the task, and “Delegatee” – the person charged with performing the task.       

1.    Issues relating to our effectiveness in delegating

  • Does the delegatee have the ability “to see the angles” and do it right?
  • Am I relegating authority, delegating a task or simply passing the buck?
  • Where does the ultimate responsibility remain?  Can it be delegated? (Can responsibility be given, or can it only be taken?)
  • What are client or stakeholder expectations relating to the outcome?

2.    Obstacles to delegation

  • The Delgatee:
    • inexperience
    • background
    • tenacity
    • inadequate thinking skills
    • time taken (insufficient speed)
    • inaccessibility at the moment of need
    • inadequate deductive reasoning capability
  • The Delegator:
    • my work discipline is too non-linear
    • I like doing it myself
    • the finished product won’t be up to my standards
    • my perfectionism gets in the way of letting go
    • inability to identify tasks that can be delegated
    • evaluate thecost of delegating versus doing it yourself
    • belief that training takes/wastes time
    • insufficient patience, or inability to explain clearly
    • my client expects me to do these tasks – really?

3.    Consequences of not delegating when you could have

  • lost personal time
  • overwork
  • burnout
  • less income
  • missed vacations
  • frustration and disappointment with yourself being viewed as a control freak   

5.    Recommendations for improvement

  • reward myself
  • give good feedback to assistants/reports asigneds the taks
  • make clients aware that you do directly supervise your team on delegated tasks to ensure quaility
  • make a list of assignable tasks
  • make a list of clients whose work suits delegation
  • learn to say ”no” to what you should not do
  • ask “how would you do it?” versus telling others how to do it
  • pose specific questions to an assistant or team member e.g. “please research these three things…”, versus doing the research or data collection yourself
  • delegate boundaried assignments for which you can estimate the costs

6.    Conclusion summary

“If you don’t delegate: you can’t grow the business; you work all the time; you can’t go on vacation; and you earn less income.  That’s got to be painful, so what’s really stopping you from delegating?”

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