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Moving On...To Delegation

In today's busy environment, it is often just easier to do it yourself than to delegate it to someone else. After all, it takes time to delegate and then if they don't get it right, you'll just have to do it yourself anyway, right?

Wrong - this is the fast track to burnout. If you keep doing it yourself, you will always be doing it. This also does not allow you the open time and space to experience new opportunities, learn new things and do only the things you can do. Any savvy professional knows to push the work down as much as is possible. Delegation will save you loads of time in the long run - IF -you do it right the first time; not the task, the delegation.

To delegate or NOT to delegate....Ask yourself these questions:

  • Does this require MY special skills? (advance degree, special training)
  • Could someone else do this?
  • If not , who can I train?
  • How often will this task be done in the future? - If once, just do it! If repeatedly - train someone!

The real art of delegation lies in putting focus on achieving the result, not on doing the work yourself!

First of all, when you make the decision that the task can be delegated, then the next question becomes to whom? This is critical because usually we delegate to our best and brightest. This is especially true if the task must be accomplished in a short time frame. Beware! This the fastest way to turn your best and brightest into burned-out zombies! Instead take inventory of what are the individual strengths of each of your team members/employees and what strengths are needed to accomplish this particular task.

Keep in mind, the mark of a true leader is not how many followers they have but how many leaders they develop along the way. Make it your intention to develop a team of leaders who work together in an effective and productive way. This will (1) allow for a more stress-free environment, (2) frees you up for 'bigger' things and (3) empowered employees feel more confident in taking on additional responsibility.

The first important step in delegating is to define the desired result. Make sure the expected outcome and the time frame are realistic. Make sure the delegatee knows the consequences of failing to handle the task successfully (personally and to the team/company). Give specific and detailed instructions, make certain the delegatee understands the steps to make the task happen. You may even ask for feedback and suggestions from the delegatee as to how they envision the process and the steps necessary to complete. Have the person right it down and repeat it back to you. Set up a timetable for the person to report back to you on progress. Access the level of trust that you have for this person before you delegate, during the task, and then evaluate the employee at the end.

I also suggest you create a system for each task or each delegatee so that you have at your fingertips easy access to follow-up. Remember training and follow up are critical, systems must not only be set in motion, they must be followed up on. Set a time each day, week or month depending on the complexity and deadline for questions and follow up with the delegatee.

I think you will find if you take the time to delegate properly, and then follow up,you'll 'build' a better employee, your trust level of the employee will rise (or be let go) and you will again be freed up for those projects that only you can do.

Today's businesses depend on the strength of the whole team. Even if you run a one-person business, you can out source, (it's called having a virtual staff) or you can hire part-time. I have never been more sure that the way we manage our time (ourselves) determines our success and our profitability.

If you'd like to learn more about time management, productivity, delegation and managing interruptions, give me a call. I'll introduce you to my diagnostic that will evaluate exactly where you stand in these areas and tell you what you can do to move on to the top of your game.

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