5 Critical Steps To Take Before You Can Delegate Effectively

Delegate note

This is a guest post by Holistic Time Coach Julie Gray. Julie works with small business owners who are ready to work less and contribute more, and is offering a free e-course on the 7 Killer Time Management Mistakes You Don’t Realize You Are Making (And What To Do About It).

You hear it all the time – delegate more! Use your team! Empower those that work for you!

Forget that.

I’d rather just do it myself and put an end to the torture of trying to explain the subtle nuances of a job well done.

I’d rather not subject myself to endless inane questions about what exactly it is I am looking for.

I’d rather avoid the possibility of re-doing an entire project and putting everyone behind schedule just so the new office eager beaver can “get his feet wet.”

And why do I feel this way?

Because I know what I am doing. Because this isn’t my first rodeo. Because I want things done right, which frankly means my way.

Control freak? Nah.

Perfectionist? No way.

Micro-manager? Not me.

I am just like everyone else that is good at their job.

Which is why doing my job is where I need to be focused, not teaching someone else to do their job.

The Problem with Refusing to Delegate

If no one else can do your job that is the job you will always do.

In your refusal to delegate – whether you are a corporate power player, stay-at-home-parent, or business owner – you are not creating job security, you are creating job imprisonment.

You are demonstrating each day that you are unwilling to stretch yourself into a role that can have more influence and greater impact.

If you desire to take your business to a new level, move into a higher-level management position or free up more time to focus on your priorities, it is going to mean teaching – and allowing – others to do your job.

Which is going to involve a heck of a lot more delegating than you are doing right now.

The First Step

The first step is shifting your mindset around what it means to delegate and why it is so critical to take the time to do so. Hopefully we’ve just made a good dent into that process.

Here are 5 more critical steps you need to take before you can start delegating effectively:

1. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable. Asking for support isn’t always easy. A surprising requirement of delegation is being vulnerable enough to ask for help and clearly communicating your needs. Remember that people are excited to support and learn from you.

2. A team of people whose work you respect and whose values you trust. This could mean a housecleaning service, a web design firm, or your immediate direct reports. If you don’t trust their work after you’ve given them a fair shot, move on.

3. A clear idea of what tasks you can delegate. This means you need to be clear on all the moving pieces of your projects, tasks, deliverables, etc. and are tracking them consistently. Not having this in place is usually the secret reason behind, “I don’t have time to delegate.”

4. A place to track tasks and projects that you delegate. Keeping a running list in your favorite task manager of the items you have delegated can help you feel much more comfortable with the process.

5. A clear communication system for project updates. Do you want your dog walker to leave you notes in a notebook? Do you want your direct reports to batch their questions to you? Do you want your virtual assistant to email you daily? It is up to you to set the communication parameters so that everyone is on the same page and details aren’t lost.

Effective Delegation

If you’re not used to delegating, it may seem overwhelming. Start slowly. Integrate this process over time. Experiment with different task tracking and communication systems. Get your team’s input on how these processes should flow.

Over time you will realize that your job has shifted, you are able to take on more responsibility, you have stretched outside your comfort zone, and you trust yourself to get the job done – with everyone’s help, of course.

Question: Where could you start delegating effectively to be more productive? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

7 thoughts on “5 Critical Steps To Take Before You Can Delegate Effectively

  1. I should delegate cleaning. I don’t care to do it and it always seems like it needs to be done.

    I think finding someone to trust is the hardest part. Everytime I think about handing off a responsibility to someone else this always gets me.

    So I always make sure to communicate what I expect from them as well as what is to be done so we’re on the same page.


  2. Thanks Lea – it can be uncomfortable to trust others. Remember that you can do so in small, doable steps. If it is possible to only have them focus on the areas of your home that you are most comfortable with then you get the chance to test them out. Great point about sharing your expectations.

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