“I don’t delegate, because it takes longer to delegate the task than just do it myself.”
"If I want it done right, I'd better do it myself."
Have you ever had these thoughts? Haven’t we all? I’ve had them, too. They’re valid thoughts.
The first couple of times you trust someone else to do something they’ve never done, of course, it’ll take them longer...and it probably won’t be done as well as if you had done it yourself.
But to move ahead in your career and to make the most of your time, you need to know how to delegate successfully. This will help you free up your time to move onto new, more important things. That’s how you move up the ranks.
The ironic thing is that if you can’t delegate, you could potentially be roadblocking yourself. You know that saying “Get out of your own way?” I think that quote was written for someone who couldn’t delegate.
Here are 6 powerful delegation lessons I’ve learned that will save you lots of time and frustration.
1) Try to ditch any perfectionist or micromanaging genes you have.
There are two types of delegators. The first type might say, “You’re free to get to the end result we’ve discussed. As long as you get there on time and within budget, I’m happy.” These are the kind of delegators people like.
The other type will hold your hand and walk you step by step through everything that needs to be done. They’ll be thinking, “I want it done my specific way, because my way is the best way, and I am helping you by teaching you my way.” These are the kind of delegators people hate.
Which one do you want to be?
2) Ask yourself what you want the outcome to look like (before delegating).
Be as clear and as specific as possible with describing the end result you want. What does successful completion of the project mean to you? How will you know that this project has been completed successfully? That’s the ticket. If you can describe the outcome or end goal so that there is no mistake about it, the HOW comes a lot easier.
3) Don’t be that person.
You know anyone who’s an information hogger? The person who feels good when only they know all the things? No one likes that person.
Share as much information as you can freely, especially the WHY. Why is the project important? Communicating the why has a huge impact on how the project gets done and saves you a lot of time answering questions later down the line.
4) Who needs to know?
Take a moment to consider who it is that the delegatee can go to for help, questions, information, or resources. Make sure to talk to these people and give them a heads up. For example, “Bill is working on x project and he may need x, y, or z.”
5) Once you’ve passed on a task, you’re not quite done.
A lot of people think that they’re done once they’ve handed something off and slapped on a deadline. They expect a perfect finished product on their desk, and when they don’t get what they expected, they get angry.
You will probably bypass that frustration because you’re reading this post, and by now, you know that delegation isn’t just a one-and-done thing. However, one last suggestion is to schedule check-in points along the way. This is a foolproof way to make sure everything is on track and crystal clear throughout the whole delegation process.
6) What to do when you’re actually done:
This is perhaps the most important one of all. If a delegatee does a good job, recognize them! Give them credit in front of coworkers, senior managers, etc. - even though we both know you’re the one who made it all happen by being a kick-ass delegator. You deserve a pat on the back, too.
If the whole thing went well, make sure they know you’re pleased. After all, how will you know you delegated well? A good unit of measure for you will be whether that person wants to do more work for you.
Feeling overwhelmed sucks, particularly when there’s no end in sight. Delegation is the cure to overwhelm. Delegating like a rock star will have a dramatic affect on your entire life. Just imagine everything progressing on track like a well-oiled machine. Imagine waking up tomorrow morning looking forward to seeing what your minions have gotten done.
You’ll start to delegate with confidence and clarity, and before you know it, it’ll be second nature!
Natalie Fisher is an enthusiastic HR Generalist who loves her job! She's been on over 50 interviews and received 48 job offers. Download her Free Guide: This is how you network Now - Strategic Networking Cheat Sheet.
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