Delegating is an incredibly valuable tool for your management toolkit but it is one that so many are so hesitant to use. It’s also one of the biggest tools to be misused and then avoided because,
I tried delegating but it just doesn’t work.

It’s just easier if I do it myself.

By the time I show them how to do it, I could’ve done it myself five times over.

Both these statements are true and if these represent you and you stick by them then you will always be doing those tasks … f-o-r-e-v-e-r! Even when the task is more suited for another role. Even when your boss starts questioning you about why you’re still doing the task. Even when you’re really sick of doing the task. Did I mention, forever!
What drives the hesitance to hand over control or lack of trust between you and the team might be some legitimate fears such as:
They won’t do it to the standard I want.

Who gets the blame if they get it wrong?

Who gets the credit if they get it right?

If you don’t communicate your expectations clearly then, yes, the standard won’t be met. No one can read your mind, you need to tell them what you want and to what standard. This may mean you showing or demonstrating and then observing while they do the task. Or it may be much easier than that: a simple two-way conversation where you can explain and they can paraphrase back their understanding. Does this take time? Yes. But once you’ve set up the delegation properly, that ‘forever’ burden disappears.

Who gets the blame and who gets the credit? It depends. If you set the delegation up properly and you have built up trust and rapport with your team, you both accept responsibility and you both get the credit.

There’s a lot to setting up delegation so that it will be a success but when you do the work, the rewards are there for the taking. One manager who attended my Delegation for Development, Delight and De-Stress MasterClass emailed me a week later to tell me that his whole workload and work life balance has shifted. “I didn’t realise how I was withholding so many development opportunities for my team by not delegating.” I always love hearing how delegation works for my clients.

Do you still need more convincing that Delegating works? Here’s an example for you:

  1. I placed an order to transcribe eight files at 2:29pm.
  2. The first file to be transcribed was emailed back at 2:39pm.
  3. All the remaining files were transcribed and in my inbox by 3:44pm.

After I had sent the order I decided to grab a snack and a cup of tea so I was away from my desk for a good 20 minutes. When I returned and saw there were two emails back from the transcription service I actually thought that I may have made a mistake with my ordering by only uploading a few of the files. But, no, all files were uploaded and were already being completed.

I saw this as an opportunity to prove the value of delegating so I tested myself. Yes, I actually transcribed the same first file and timed myself. It took me 17 minutes to transcribe one file, compared to…

  1. the service uploaded the files,
  2. processed my order,
  3. distributed the work,
  4. transcribed one file, and
  5. had the transcript back in my inbox within 10 minutes,

… all the while I was having an afternoon snack.

To say I was impressed is an understatement.

The lessons that were reinforced for me, and I trust for you too, when thinking about delegation are:

  • If you are not an expert in a given task or skill, give it to someone who is.
  • If you can come up with every excuse as to why you cannot or should not delegate, take my test as a small amount of proof that you cannot do everything.
  • Build trust and rapport with your team so you will be confident in delegating. In my example, I have two transcription services I like and I did my research, this is the same thing: do research and get to know your team.
  • Communicate what you want, the way you want it. BUT be open to other options as your team may just have a better suggestion. In my example, I provided details such as names, accents, with / without time stamps, etc.
  • If fear of cost is an issue, here’s one way to look at it: The total transcribing of the eight files cost me $43.00 for 43 minutes: that’s $1 dollar per minute. The quality was exceptional. In the time it took to return all the files I had eaten a snack (not really a money making exercise but a gal needs sustenance), I replied to a client email and I booked a client in for an executive coaching package. The small amount of work I completed while someone else was doing the transcribing netted me more than $43.00. For me it’s a no-brainer.

Delegating does take time to set up, but once you’ve done it and done it properly you’ll be surprised how many other benefits will show up.

Let me know how you get on…

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