Choose your fear when it comes to delegation

Go ahead, which one are you?

  1. No one can do the work as well as you can.
  2. Delegating means loosing control over time, quality.
  3. When you do delegate, you just don’t get what you want so it’s easier to do it yourself.
  4. It’s faster if you do it yourself than having to stop and explain how you want it done to someone else.

Maybe I am missing a few here but in my experience these are some of the most common apprehensions that we have. Looking at what is really behind your reluctance to assign tasks to team members is not easy, I get that!

The reasons listed above perhaps can be a complicated blend of perfectionism, training issues, reputation and as the song says let it go.

When is a good time to look at how you delegate? Two common scenarios that force you to tackle the dreaded ‘D’ word. Firstly, when you are feeling overloaded and the secondly when you start to hear you need to be more strategic from your boss.

In an era of retention problems so many organisations are struggling to hold onto people however when you dig down into the data a key issue is lack of growth and developmental opportunities. Your people want to be challenged and learn new skills, after all that’s how you got your position isn’t it? That eagerness to do as much as possible so that your list of competencies is continuously growing.

As hard as it is sometimes we have to slow down to speed up. The reality is that if you stay on the your current trajectory, burnout and missed promotion opportunites are the real outcomes that you are moving towards, but what can you do?

Step one

Enough is enough, the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

Step two

Identify the development opportunity both for the person being given the task and for you.

Step three

Plan – the who, what, when and how you delegate.

If per chance you are still not convinced then how many of these questions can you answer YES to?

  • Do you take work home with you?
  • Are you working longer hours?
  • Is your unfinished list growing at an alarming rate?
  • Do you have to achieve more with few and fewer resources?
  • Do you feel you have achieved nothing at the end of a very long day, every day?

When working with clients we spend time together looking at what it is they want to delegate breaking it down into alternatives, constraints, outcome and so on. Then we look at a framework that includes steps such as:

  • Prioritising – when we don’t then all we do is create a petri dish for anxiety and panic
  • Clear and realistic objectives and outcomes
  • The BiG picture
  • Possible roadblocks
  • Willingness to take on the task — perhaps they too are perfectionists and need to get comfortable with failing forward
  • How the team member wants to do it, their approach
  • If something new — what support might they need such as training, mentoring
  • Milestones and deadlines
  • Frequency of reviews and how they will be carried out
  • Who else needs to know

It does get easier with time and working with your team together on delegation is a key skill that not only you need to work on, but so do they. Learning together to move towards your shared outcomes. Identifying who on the team would love the opportunity and who can help them. You can’t do it all, nor do you have to. Together you can achieve so much more. How does feedback about your delegation skills sound and look like right now? How would you like them to be?

I work with new and emerging leaders helping them to accelerate2lead using a blend of leadership and intercultural coaching tools. Please feel free to reach out to me if you are interested in knowing more, the first consultation is free.