Master Delegation: Let Go and Trust Other People
Delegation is one of the most powerful tools for effective time management, and it’s also the most psychologically loaded. Relying on others can bring up deep-seated issues of dependency and trust.
Many people, from managers at work to adults at home with a family, often fall into the trap of ‘doing everything.’ You may think that you can do the task better, or faster, than anyone else can. Or you may simply not want to impose on anyone by asking for help. You may even do everything yourself because you feel guilty if you’re not busy all the time!
Do any of these excuses sound familiar to you?
- I can do it better myself.
- No one else will do it right.
- I’m the only one qualified to do it.
- Everyone else already has enough to do.
- It’s faster to just do it myself.
- I’ll be embarrassed if they do it better than me.
- What if they say no?
With this type of thinking, not only are you at risk of burnout, but you’re not working efficiently or living your life to the fullest. Believe it or not, there are people out there who can do certain things better than you, faster than you and may even ENJOY doing them more than you do.
This is where learning to delegate comes in. When handled correctly, delegation not only frees you to make the most of your unique talents, it allows others to learn and grow while making a contribution. In fact, it is quite liberating once you really do let go and put your trust in other people.
“People rise and fall to meet your level of expectations for them. If you express skepticism and doubt in others, they will return your lack of confidence with mediocrity. But if you believe in them and expect them to do well, they will go the extra mile trying to do their best.” ~ John C. Maxwell, Author and Speaker
While it is a skill that anyone can learn, there is much more to delegating than simply handing out assignments. It is a science and an exercise in understanding one’s self.
Tips for Successful Delegation
- Be as specific as possible about what you want done. It’s no good delegating a task to someone and then complaining because they haven’t done what you wanted them to do. You have to be very clear about what you need done and how you want it done if the delegation is ever going to be successful – or repeated.
- Let the other person get on with it. You have to accept that when you delegate something, it’s literally out of your hands and you need to avoid interfering with the process or micromanaging. As hard as it is, wait for the end product before you judge how successful the delegation has been.
- Avoid delegating many tasks at once. If you are new to delegating, or if the very idea of delegation makes you uncomfortable, you should start by delegating only one task or project at a time. Your delegation skills and comfort level will build over time as you see each job you’ve assigned completed successfully.
- Teach people to be problem solvers. When someone comes to you for help, resist the temptation to dive into the task as if were yours. Instead, point out possible solutions by offering advice and suggestions. Point out what the issues appear to be, and ask for ideas on addressing them, but make it clear you consider the task to still be their responsibility to complete.
- Don’t expect perfection.Learning how to delegate responsibility can take a lot of practice and patience, no matter what task you’re delegating. While it’s important to clearly establish a standard of quality and a reasonable time frame for achieving it, avoid falling into the self-defeating trap of expecting perfection.
- Reward the effort.Recognition for a job well done encourages similar future efforts. So if the person to whom you delegated responsibility does a fine job, let them know. Also, if the end result isn’t ideal but they put a lot of time and hard work into the task, let him or her know you appreciate the effort.
If we want both our businesses and our personal lives to thrive, delegation is a skill we have to master. When you allow yourself to ask for help it is actually a sign of strength and a sign that you’re willing to allow others to be of value.
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You may also be interested in this article: It’s Called Delegation for a Reason: Give Up Control to Get Control