Feeling a tad overwhelmed? Been a while since you left the office “on time?” Too busy to do the things you need to do because you’re busy doing things other people could – and by rights should – be doing?
You already know you need to delegate, don’t you.
But maybe you don’t think you have the time to train someone up, so you just do the task yourself. Or there’s a chance that you don’t trust anyone. I mean, you’ll just have to redo it later anyway, right? Could be you’re afraid people won’t like you if you delegate to them, and that would cause disharmony in the team.
But if you’re reading this, it’s because you call yourself a leader. And as a leader it’s your role to align your staff towards the mission and vision of the group. And you know that in order to do that, you need to split the work of the group in the best way possible, even if doing that is not easy.
So, leader, it’s time to let go of some of the things you’re doing.
I know that there are things you already know about delegating, like making sure you pick the right person for the task, ensuring they understand what to do, and setting clear deadlines for completion.
So because you’re savvy, I’ve pulled together 3 less conventional delegation tips from 3 masterful leaders that will help you beat delegation dread once and for all.
Don’t delegate – eliminate!
This rule comes from famous entrepreneur and author of “The 4-Hour Work Week,” Tim Ferriss, who writes, “Never automate something that can be eliminated, and never delegate something that could be automated or streamlined.”
The first thing you need to do is cull what’s not necessary. Are any of the tasks you’re doing out-dated? There’s no point delegating something that doesn’t need to be done. Don’t be like the woman who cut off the ends of her roasts because her mother did, and her mother did it because her grandmother did. They were rather embarrassed when they found out the grandmother cut off the ends of the roasts because she only had a small oven and the roasts were too big.
The second way to eliminate is through automation and streamlining. There may be a better solution for something you’ve been doing manually. Don’t get someone else to sort your emails for you if your email program can be tweaked to the same effect.
Ask this cool accountability question
Mark Goulston, author of “Just Listen,” has a cool question that he asks when he delegates a task. Here’s what he says: “In the event that, for any reason, you’re not able to do what you just agreed to, how do you want me to react to you? What I care most about is just getting the work done. I have no interest in being punitive, and all that kind of stuff, but going forward, what shall I do?”
This question is cool because you’ve just gotten permission to hold someone accountable. You’ve also just eliminated that “what the heck do I do now” resentful feeling which you’ve probably experienced when this has happened in the past.
Watch out for the reverse delegation trap
This one’s from Brian Tracy in his book “Time Power.” Reverse delegation is where someone you’ve delegated to delegates the task right back to you. They do this by experiencing a problem with the task and then asking you to solve it, since you know the task well. Suddenly, that monkey’s on your back again.
When you see this trap in play, ask “what do you think you should do?” and help them come up with the next step. Just make sure they take that next step, not you.
When you’ve reduced your task overload and up-skilled your team, all that’s left now is to redefine how you spend the blocks of time you’ve just freed up.
You might even find you have the time to do the job that is – by all rights – yours to do, and no one else’s.