Your to-do list is packed full of more stuff than you’ll ever complete.
You’re stressed out because you feel like you need to be everything to everyone – everywhere all the same time.
You’re so busy with what’s right in front of you that work you know you must do keeps getting kicked to next week, and the week, after that – and then next month. Well, maybe next year.
There is a way to break the cycle and retake control of your business – and your life.
It’s called delegation.
Hold on … I know you know it is important to delegate things, and that delegating will save you time and make you more money.
But you’ve got good reasons why you’re not doing it – or not doing it well. Some of the common excuses for not delegating are:
- I have to do it myself
- It takes too long to delegate/I do it faster, better
- I don’t have the time to learn how to do it well
- I don’t have anyone to delegate to
- Other people can’t meet my standards (perfectionist)
- I can’t trust the work to the people I have on my team
- I’ll just have to redo the work I get back anyway
- I’ve tried it before, and it just doesn’t work for me.
These stories (aka excuses) will keep you from growing your practice. They will bring you to work early, and keep you late each night – and absorb your weekends. All while your people work regular hours and enjoy the life that you’d like to be enjoying.
I get it. Delegating is hard.
It’s doubly difficult because few people have received proper training on how to delegate well – and to address all of the messy people issues that come with it.
Effective delegation can be learned.
You’re going to need TRUST others, and yourself.
It requires SKILLS. It’s not just about the skills of the people on your team. You are going to need to build and practice your own skills in delegation and the development of your people.
You must have a PROCESS so that you consistently execute the steps to effective delegation, management and leadership.
I’ll talk about each of these areas in future posts.
For now, let’s unpack some of the top reasons why professionals avoid delegating.
Time objections include the time it takes to explain it to someone else or how long the person will take to complete the task. It feels faster to do it yourself.
The problem with this one is it might actually be true initially.
The truth is that for routine, repetitive tasks that don’t require your skill and expertise, the time you spend you spend creating a system to delegate the work and training people to do the work is an investment in your future that pays off many many times over.
It takes longer at first, but once you got it, you will significantly accelerate whatever the process is that you’d like to delegate.
It ultimately frees up your time to do the work you like to do – and that creates real value in your business.
The second obstacle is that you don’t feel like you have somebody to delegate the work to.
This might be especially true if you’re in an office by yourself or with one other person. And so you conclude that you can’t delegate because there are no people to delegate it to.
In today’s virtual interconnected workplace it’s easier than ever to delegate work to people who are not physically present in your office. You can also outsource to specialists without hiring them as employees or having them travel to your office.
This applies to everything from bookkeeping, to marketing, to answering the phones to doing professional and administrative work.
You’re only limited by your imagination and your delegation and management skills.
The effort that you put into figuring out what exactly you need to have done and delegating it and supervising it pays off many times over.
The third obstacle to delegating effectively is trust.
You’re going to need strategies to build trust in the skills of others and in their ability to keep information secure and confidential.
The other part of the trust is trusting yourself and having the confidence that you can figure out exactly what needs to happen and how it needs to happen and that you can manage it properly.
One of the insidious little problems with this is that when you delegate work to someone else and you want to build trust, there are going to be times when things don’t work out the way you want. It’s part of the learning process.
You’ll have to have a process not only on how to delegate the initial work but to retain responsibility, authority, and control. And to have a potentially difficult conversation with the person to whom you delegated the work about how their work may or may not be meeting the standard and how to improve.
I’ve seen so many professionals who avoid delegating because they are not comfortable having these difficult conversations. Instead, they tolerate situations that make their life more complicated.
The fix is to recognize that delegating is a skill that can be learned.
If you’re determined to be in control of your future – and have the life you’ve always wanted then make it your business to learn and develop your delegation skills.
Start by considering how delegation is working for you now – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Here are a few questions to get you started:
- Are there things you feel like you should be delegating but you aren’t doing it? Why not?
- Do you have a defined process for delegation and completion of work? How is it working?
- Do your people have the skills they need to do the work you need them to do?
- How confident are you in your delegation, supervision, and follow-up skills? Do you have a routine and a process or do you just wing it? How’s that working for you?
- When is the last time you received feedback from your team on how you’re doing as a delegator?
What’s your #1 challenge in delegating work? Leave a comment below and let’s talk.
P.S… Delegating well is a skill it takes a lifetime to master. And just when you think you’re done – your not. Mastery doesn’t come by reading a blog post, a book, or a checklist. Masters become masters because they have a guide to help them along the way. If you’re interested in mastery of delegation skills and your practice – and seeing whether I’d be a good guide for you then click here and let’s talk