Effectively delegating is a skill. As with any skill, the more you practice the better you become.
Often clients share with me their HORROR stories of the times they have tried to delegate and “failed.” One of the common frustrations is that “by the time they explain it, they could have just done it themselves.”
Depending on the task being delegated, this may be true!
You can delegate two types of tasks – recurring tasks and “one-off” tasks. The key to maximizing your time is to have a plan for each type of task and follow it! The more systematic you can make the process, the easier (and quicker) it becomes.
Step #1: Determine how often you will delegate this task.
- If the task is something that happens daily, weekly, monthly, or quarterly, investing the time up front to teach someone how to do this task will pay dividends quickly. The first few times will take a little longer, but after that your time invested is minimal.
- If the task is something that only happens once (or yearly) you should delegate this to someone that already knows how to do it. The more complicated these one-off tasks are, the tougher it is to recoup your time. For example, creating a website from scratch is a task best delegated to a web designer. If you try to teach someone with no web background how to do this, you probably could do it yourself in less time. Doing your taxes each year is a task best suited to a CPA. Researching tax code and then teaching it to your assistant will take a lot of time, and possibly lead to MANY errors!
Step #2: Follow a process.
I like to follow the 9 Steps of Delegation that I adapted from my coach training courses (Coach Approach).
- Decide who is best suited to perform the task.
- Meet with the individual to make the assignment. (BONUS TIP: Ask the person to recap your conversation – often this is when you find gaps in understanding.)
- State the desired results and establish a time frame.
- Grant the necessary authority along with the responsibility. (I’ll provide a blog post soon explaining this step in more detail.)
- Establish a follow-up schedule.
- Be available to answer questions or clarify expectations.
- Let go and don’t meddle.
- Reward or acknowledge the person.
- Learn from the experience: capture and clarify future expectations.
Step #3: Reach out for help.
If you find that your delegating experience is not as fabulous as you’d prefer, get some outside perspective. Who is someone you admire for their delegating skills? Ask for advice. Often little tweaks can improve the process dramatically.