Most of us are not interested in working more hours. But we spend way too much time doing things that others could do. This leads to a couple of problems. First, our truly important tasks are procrastinated or even ignored. Second, we end up working longer hours in order to get everything done. How can you get everything done and still be home by dinner? Delegate. Get started by absorbing the following principles:
1. Delegating is a critical skill for every leader
If a leader does not delegate, he/she will always be bogged down with menial tasks and details. This will lead to avoidance of the truly important and to an overworked leader. As a leader, give away everything that you can. In giving away as many things as possible, you will be freed to focus your attention and energy on the things that are most important. What should you give away? If someone can do something better than you, let them do it. If someone else can do something as well as you, let them do it. If someone else can do something 80 percent as well as you, let them do it. If someone else has the potential to do something 80 percent as well as you then train them to do it.
2. Delegating will not bring you immediate gratification
Ever feel like giving something away takes more time than doing it yourself? Giving a task or project away often takes an upfront time commitment. But the initial investment will free up a lot of time later. Perhaps a task takes you two hours per week to complete. Let’s assume that it takes you 6 hours to train another person to do that same task. After your initial six-hour investment, you have freed up dozens of future hours. But the initial time commitment is often required in order to free up much more time later.
3. Delegating does not mean that you get to disappear
One of the biggest mistakes leaders make in delegating is failing to follow-up. Handing something off does not allow you to disappear. After delegating a task or project, make sure to establish a plan to follow-up.
4. Delegating does not mean micro-managing
The goal of delegating is to hand something off. Micro-managing the person who was given the project will likely cost you the time that you were trying to free up and will frustrate those who work under you. In delegating, clearly communicate the desired result, but allow flexibility in how the project is accomplished.
5. Clarify a level of delegation
Blogger, Michael Hyatt in a recent Podcast, articulated 5 levels of delegating that are quite helpful.
- Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do.
- Level 2: Research the topic and report back
- Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options and make a recommendation.
- Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did.
- Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best.
Though we often start at level one, as a leader my goal is to be moving toward level 5 with those who work with me.
What do you need to delegate so that you can focus on what you and only you can do?