Learning how to delegate when you’re a control freak can be somewhat of a challenge!
Actually you don’t even need to be a control freak to struggle. We see such a range of ‘delegate-ability’ (new word!) across new clients we work with we’ve designed an onboarding process to help them.
In this article we’ll share 5 tips to help you, because successful delegation has three successful outcomes:
- You’ll get more done across your business.
- You’ll have more time to spend doing those tasks you should be doing.
- You’ll get your life back!
Learning to delegate ... what's holding you back?
Don’t panic if you’re nodding your head, this is a judgement-free zone! The pressures of running a business can make you hold tightly onto control, but this will hold you back. Learning to delegate is an essential skill as a leader, one that will get your productivity to skyrocket. But this transition can be quite a challenge, so we’re here to help you.
Step 1: Change your mindset
The biggest hurdle you face learning to delegate is being stuck in your ways, or reluctant to change. It’s normal to be afraid of letting go of control or worried that if you do it won’t be done to your high standards. But micromanaging will prevent your business from expanding. Worse it could frustrate your team who will feel that you don’t trust them. It’s crucial to focus on the positives instead of being ruled by your fears. The more you hold onto a need to micro-manage, the harder it is to unlearn.
Step 2: Evaluate your workload
You need to decide which tasks you should delegate before you actually hand them off to someone. Take stock of how you spend your time over a 7-10 day period, then determine which tasks don’t have to be done by you.
If someone else could complete a task just as well as you (possibly even better!), and you have a long list of to-dos, you could massively increase your workplace productivity by holding onto them.
Take the task test below to identify how you should be prioritising your time.
Step 3: Prepare your procedures
Provided detailed, step-by-step instructions of how any task must be performed is a must for any successful delegation. And especially important if you have reservations about relinquishing control. You don’t have to spend hours painstakingly typing out procedures, here’s an easy way to prepare your procedures. You should also include a brief explanation of the purpose and intended outcomes of the task, this will help the person who is performing it understand its relevance to your big picture.
Don’t forget that your delegate should have access to all resources and accounts they will need to complete their assigned task. Take care to ensure any confidential information (e.g. logins and passwords) are exchanged securely.
Click here for more detail on writing a ‘good’ SOP or procedure.
Step 4: Chose the right person
Assigning the right person to delegate to does require some thought. Each task must be matched with the right individual, whether they’re a member of your team, a VA or freelancer. If you struggle when delegating, setting up a meeting to talk to the candidate about the task is a must.
Meeting face to face is a great way to establish trust by giving you a chance to discuss the task, explain the procedure, and for both of you to ask any questions.
You want to ensure they not only fully understand the task, but that they have the required skills to complete it to your satisfaction (and delight!).
TIP: we have accountability or quality control measures built into all our procedures. This ensures the business owner retains control by knowing what to check for and the delegate can easily review to mitigate possible errors or risk.
Remember that you don’t have to jump in the deep end with delegation. Start with low-risk tasks, or partially delegate tasks so that they create a draft for you to review and add final touches.
Step 5: Schedule Check-Ins
Finally, you must establish clear and committed methods of maintaining communication. Delegation is an investment, which means it can take some time at first. Scheduling regular check-ins help to build trust. It also gives you an opportunity to give (and receive) feedback!
This is an opportunity for both you and your team to grow. When you build enough trust that you can openly share ideas, positive reinforcement and constructive criticism, then you are growing as a leader.
It’s important to provide support to your team and credit them for their efforts, and check-ins on the progress of a task or project is a great way to do this.
Bonus: Resist the urge to regress!
When things get difficult, resist the urge to regress back to your old control-freak ways.
It’s inevitable that there will be times that you delegate and aren’t happy with the result. Or you might get discouraged by the time it takes to organise delegation, since preparing SOPs, training and checking-in can chew up a lot of time initially. Your instincts will kick in and you’ll be tempted to double down on micromanaging. Instead, turn your frustration into an opportunity.
Reflect on what went wrong, how this mistake could be prevented in the future, and what else you can learn from this experience.
It’s not until we properly evaluate a situation that we determine what went wrong, whether it was an issue with pairing a delegate with a task, the instructions, a lack of communication or something else entirely.
If you can get past this without regressing to your do-it-myself habits, you will be much stronger as a leader. And achieve much more in the long run!
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