As an experienced professional, you may find it tempting to simply do something yourself in the belief that it will get done faster and better. The process of delegating can appear to be too time-consuming.
But those who fail to delegate often overlook the true cost of diminished effort against other, higher-value-adding activities. This inefficiency also manifests itself as ineffectiveness, leading to increased stress, longer hours, and limited opportunities for team members to develop.
Starting by delegating small tasks helps build the confidence needed to gradually delegate more complex and sophisticated tasks. But to do this, you first need to break down tasks into delegable chunks
Here are six tips to help you delegate more effectively.
Overcome your fear of letting go
Letting go does not mean losing control. It means learning to trust yourself and learning to trust others. Understanding the answers to the following questions can help you develop that trust in yourself:
- What is going on here that is preventing me from delegating?
- What needs to be different for me to delegate?
When it comes to trusting others, the answers to the following questions are helpful:
- What would prompt them to invest in my success?
- What might prevent them from investing in my success?
When you build trust with your team, it becomes easier to communicate. When you have trust and effective communication, your team can more readily see how their goals are aligned with yours.
Your team will then recognize how contributing to your success will help them.
Do, delegate, or eliminate
We might not be fully conscious of how we plan our daily activity or, indeed, why. Applying some simple filters to the way we plan can give us an insight and yield significant productivity gains.
Use this powerful decision-making tool:
Question 1: Does this task/activity need to be done? If yes, go to Question 2. If no, eliminate the task/activity.
Question 2: Is this task/activity one that only I can do? If yes, do it yourself. If no, determine whom to delegate it to.
Manage the scope of the task
Starting by delegating small tasks helps build the confidence needed to gradually delegate more complex and sophisticated tasks.
But to do this, you first need to break down tasks into delegable chunks. This requires knowledge, analysis, and planning. Answering these questions can help:
- What is the overall goal I am trying to achieve here?
- What are the three components of this goal that will make it a success?
- To what extent could I work on a single component while someone else is working on another component at the same time?
For example, when putting together a forecast for a business unit made up of three divisions, could you delegate the preparation of the forecast for one of the smaller divisions to a direct report?
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