Summary: We can’t do it all ourselves, we have to delegate to others. Keeping these tips in mind will help you and the person you delegate to be successful.
As much as we would like to do it all…we just can’t. We need to rely on others to get the work done. This means enlisting the help of people on our team, possibly a consultant or someone else outside of our organization to get it done.
We may be looking for extra expertise, extra set of hands or simply to free our time for other projects. In most cases, handing this off to another person is not always as simple as it sounds. It requires us to give direction, set expectations, and let go. It requires us to delegate.
A word most people understand but the doing is what gets tricky. Let’s start with what it means (from Dictionary.com):
“to commit (powers, functions, etc.) to another as agent or deputy”
The part that I most like is the beginning “to commit” after all usually when we ask someone else to do something for us – we are committing to them the functions to act on our behalf. To me that means – trust them to do it as if they were you.
Here is where we can trip ourselves up – when we want to hand off a task/project to someone else instead of committing them to do it, we want them to do it as we say. We get caught up in the process instead of the end result.
How do we avoid this?
Here are a few simple steps to master delegation:
Know what you want. The focus here should be on the end result and not the steps taken in between. If you are looking for a spreadsheet understand the information that is needed – let them decide how it is presented.
Right person. Make sure the person you are giving the responsibility to is the right person. Right person in terms of their knowledge, expertise, willingness and time. For example: don’t give a complicated task to a person who is “green” either in terms of knowledge and ability, it’s ok to have a person stretch their knowledge to complete it but it has to be in the realm of their understanding.
Big picture. Explain why you need this done, what is going to be used for and who else will see it. If this is something that is going to be presented to a client, they need to understand that aesthetics, details, and accuracy are of the upmost importance.
Resources. Make sure they have what they need to get the job done. If they need access to financial data make sure the finance person knows it is ok to give the information.
Time. Respect their time and the amount needed to get it complete. If you need it tomorrow and they have many other urgent matters to attend to, they may not be the best person. If they have the time, let them do it. I like to tell people what is needed and ask them when they think they can complete it. If they set the deadline, it usually gets done before that.
Delegating with these tips in mind, will make it easier.
What are your delegating tips?