You have to learn to delegate.
You’ll never get ahead or meet your goals if you don’t learn to delegate.
We hear an awful lot about delegating, all the time. And when you really stop to think about it – it’s an opportunity for you to pass work off your plate and give it to someone else. But how can you get clear on what should be delegated, what shouldn’t, and when.
You see, once you become a leader in your organization, you probably bring along a lot of hard skills talent. You know how to do the job, you know what needs doing and the best way to get it done. But, once you move to a leadership role (no matter if you’re leading a team, or the whole organization), your job is less about doing, than motivating and guiding others to do the thing.
And your focus should be shifted to the long range vision, what you’re ultimately trying to accomplish, and the best path to get there.
Now, don’t get me wrong how and how much you delegate really is impacted by the season the business is in. When you’re just starting out, you’re doing everything – and that’s probably how it has to be. But once that season changes, the business becomes a bit more mature – well then you simply won’t be able to get your arms around it all.
Let’s start with when you should delegate. Well, it’s not just when you are feeling overwhelmed, or doing something you hate. To be successful at delegating, it has to start way before that. You have to start out with knowing what it is you actually do. What are your tasks. Without that list, you’ll never be able to figure out which ones should be bumped from you to someone else.
“…delegating does not mean abdicating.”
So take a week, and as you go through your day, jot down what you’re doing. Gathering data for that report, formatting this marketing piece, writing that proposal, making those prospecting calls. Write it all down, create a list. Then, once you have the list, carefully review it. Can any of those tasks sit with someone else – don’t worry about who just yet. Just answer the question, can it be done by someone else.
And if you think the whole task can’t be moved, try thinking about it in smaller pieces, break it apart. Can some of those pieces be delegated.
For instance, I can’t delegate doing the podcast because I am the one who has to record it. But what about research, or script writing, or even editing. Those are pieces that could, potentially, be done by someone else.
Alright, once you know what needs to be get off your plate, now it’s time to figure out where they should go. Approach this thinking process by figuring out what skills are needed to do the tasks – then evaluate if you already have those skills on your team – and if not, can you train them, or will you need to get new talent onboard..
And by the way, either way, you’re going to have to do some level of training. So no matter which way you go, the very next step is creating the training or SOPs for the process. I’ll do a more in-depth episode on how to create an SOP soon. But basically, it’s writing down how you do what you do – the steps.
So, you’ll use the SOP as the foundation for training – simply train to the steps of the SOP.
So, one of your employees just told you that she’s pregnant. Feeling overwhelmed, with no idea where to start? After all, HR just got dumped on your plate. It’s not your zone of genius, and you don’t want it to be.
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Now, we’ve talked about what to delegate, and how to get people up to speed so you can confidently delegate to them, but there are a couple of things you have to keep in mind, that are pivotal to making this successful.
First, delegating does not mean abdicating.
Oh yeah – I see you!
We are trying so hard to avoid micromanaging, or failing to really pass off the task or project that we let the pendulum swing too far in the other direction.
We take a completely hands off approach. Here, I’ve delegated this to you – now take it and run with it. I don’t need to know any more about it – just come back to me when it’s done.
Well my friend, that’s not delegating – that’s abdicating. Shifting everything to someone else, and not taking any accountability. “I gave it to you. It’s your project now. If it flies or fails, it’s all you”. That’s no way to treat the project, or your team member.
As the leader, you have the ultimate accountability. And besides, you have to give support, feedback and guidance when and if it’s needed.
Now don’t get me wrong – what we don’t need is a helicopter leader. You have to give the person some space. But don’t just walk away either. Stay connected, check in, have them report on progress along the way. That way, you won’t find yourself at the end of the process staring at something VERY different that you expected.
And finally – what shouldn’t you delegate. Well, anything that is ‘you critical’. Things that require you, personally. Recording or filming, public speaking, maybe writing, any and all vision work. And actually – leadership.
Yeah that right. You’re the leader, and you can’t just pass that off to someone else. It’s all you – so delegate some of those other things, so you have the proper time and space to level up your leadership, and steer the boat.