Stop Doing Everything Yourself – Learn How to Delegate

By Rhonda Campbell
If you don’t learn to delegate, you could burn out.

Depending on your family environment, as a teen, you may have helped look after your siblings and tutored a relative or friend. Years later, as an adult, you didn’t let up. In fact, in addition to working full-time and caring for your own children, you might volunteer in the community.

If you grew up hearing your parents repeatedly comment, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” you might be reluctant to pass projects along to others. It’s understandable that you keep piling work on yourself; it’s the way you were programmed. The programming may have paid off when you worked for someone else, but not anymore. Now that you’re a business owner, you’ve got to start delegating.

Painless ways to delegate
The Art of Manliness shares, “The ability to wisely and effectively delegate is a quality far more quiet than others, and yet one of the most crucial to a leader’s success. Whether you’re a manager at work, owner of your own business, officer in the military, or simply working on a school project, effective delegation is one of the keys to achieving your goals.”

So, how do you go from doing all the work yourself to delegating effectively?

To begin, you recruit and hire the best talent. As you build confidence in your team’s abilities, you may lose your fear of relinquishing absolute control. Furthermore, by focusing on the advantages delegating brings (i.e. more time to build quality client relationships, improved employee confidence and morale), you’ll start to see how effective delegating actually grows your bottom line. To make it easier on yourself to delegate, consider:

  • Make sure projects you delegate to others are rewarding. Avoid giving others work that you should be doing, but don’t want to do because you don’t like the work.
  • Assess what needs to be done. For example, if you’re working on a large project, find out the numbers of people and costs required to complete the project.
  • Provide necessary training to employees and other workers (e.g. independent contractors) you delegate tasks to. This might include web seminars, external training courses or online reading assignments. (This one step could increase your confidence in other works, making it easier for you to delegate.)
  • Set deadlines for when you expect or want the work to be completed. Clearly communicate deadlines to the person heading up projects and assignments you delegate.
  • Track expenses and work hours associated with delegated tasks. You can do this by requesting that people you delegate tasks to provide you with a weekly or monthly project update report.
  • Regularly communicate project changes to the people you delegate work to. Communicate changes well enough in advance so that delegates can complete the work effectively and efficiently.
  • Acknowledge the accomplishments of delegates after work assignments and projects are completed. To encourage ongoing progress for work you hand-off to delegates consider publicly thanking delegates. For example, you can take them to a luncheon, mention their achievement on your company website or award them with a recognition plaque for successfully completing the work.

Being a jack-of-all-trades has its rewards. You can gain a broad range of skills if you do everything yourself. However, there really are only 24 hours in a day. If you keep doing everything yourself, not only will you experience fatigue, possibly exhaustion, you could start to experience psychological and emotional stress. It’s a reason delegating skills are championed by successful entrepreneurs.

Your team also benefits as you start delegating. They start to acquire skills that allow them to fill in when you’re out of the office. As your employees start expanding their job skills, they’ll feel that their career has growth potential.

They may also feel that you respect them as you start trusting them with projects you formerly only worked on yourself. But the greatest benefit gained when you delegate may likely be experienced by you, an entrepreneur who can do it all, but who’s smart enough to know that approach will limit the overall growth of her business in the long run.

Sources: (Connecticut Secretary: Nine Steps to Delegating Effectively) (Small Biz Trends: How to Let Go and Delegate a Task)

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