Delegation for the Control-Freak

Do you have a team around you who is fully capable of getting things done, but instead of delegating, you try to do everything yourself? Or worse you don’t even know what your team is capable of? If that sounds like you, there’s a better way.

 Think back to when you first started out, I am sure at some point, you had a suffocating leader that, in your view, was a micro-manager who ensured they saw, did, and was everything. Do you remember how this made you feel? As a leader of a team the last thing you want to be is the control-freak. It is a sure-fire way to stop your company growing.

 The better way is to learn how to delegate. Sure, you have heard this before and, in fact, you may have tried to delegate tasks in the past. Perhaps the quality of work wasn’t good enough to suit you, so you ended up redoing everything. There’s no sense in delegating tasks in the first place if you know you’ll end up redoing them, right?

Here are four problems you might be using as excuses for not delegating:

  •  You feel you can do the job better yourself.
  • There’s not enough time to train someone else to do the job (spoiler alert: there is time).
  • You feel like you have to redo someone else’s work.
  • You haven’t spent time working out your unique ability™ more on this later.

 If you’re facing these challenges, perhaps it’s time to look at some strategies you can use to find success in delegating.

1.    Face the truth. If you feel you can do the job better yourself, take time to think things through.

  •  Other people may not do the job the same way you would, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do the job properly. Let go of your ego and see what others can achieve.
  • The people on your team may be eager to do a great job and need only your encouragement, rather than for you to take over. Think about that for a moment, your team are waiting for you to take the first step in the world of delegation, they generally won’t. It’s a trust thing, empower them and watch how you become a force multiplier.

 2.    Train your staff. Perhaps those working with you need some additional training. This shouldn’t be a reason to do everything yourself.

  •  Look at the need for additional training to be better prepared in the future. Training now can have a huge pay off later. If you take the time to train your staff now, they’ll be better prepared for the future and for you to delegate to them.
  •  Training can include making sure you have documented and provided knowledge about your processes for getting things done. Oh wait maybe you haven’t got processes documented and therefore you don’t/can’t delegate…….documenting processes is an article for another day but consider how much not documenting your processes for others to follow consistently is holding your business back.

 3.    Relax. There’s no sense in letting pressure for perfection bring you undue stress. While perfection would be great, it’s usually not expected.

  •  Give yourself a break. It’s just not possible for you to do everything yourself, nor should you want to. You have gone through recruitment processes to select good people to fill the jobs you need to be done in the business. Let them do the job, if they can’t, then you have a recruitment process problem not a delegation problem.
  • Other people can do the work even if you don’t think they’ll do as good a job as you. It is not about you; it is what is best for the business. Help, guide and empower. Offer advice or direction where appropriate and let it happen. This will take your business a lot further than you continually working on everything yourself.

 4.    Follow a successful plan. If you’re the head of the team and certain tasks are critical for the success of the project, you may want to have a lot of influence over those. However, be clear about why you are deep in that space. Let people understand the risks and their role in mitigating them. However, the more routine tasks could be passed along to other people on the team.

  •  Delegate the task itselfnot the way in which it’s completed.
  • Assign tasks based on strengths. Perhaps you could let one person do research, assign converting raw data into usable information and designate a good writer to write the rough drafts of the reports.

  You can still be review and approve the final report.

  • Require progress reports at specified deadlines over the course of the project. If they’re having problems meeting the deadlines, instead of assuming they’re not going to get the job done, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them meet the next deadline.
  • Expect that your team will do a great job and you won’t be disappointed. People usually rise to our expectations.
  • Finally, give praise and positive feedback when the project is finished and importantly identify areas for improvement. High performing teams don’t just slap each other on the back, they critically assess effort to identify how to be better. Don’t expect this type of conversation if you have not empowered or delegated to people because no one will have skin in the game, except you.

 5.    Know your unique ability™. This is a tool we use in EOS (Entrepreneurial Operating System®) implementation. Create a page of four quadrants which are labelled Love/Great, Like/Good, Don’t Like/Good and Don’t Like/Not Good.

  •  Under each heading list the things that are relevant to that title, for example, list all the things that you love doing and are great at under that quadrant, then repat for the remaining three quadrants.
  •  You will then have a list of all the tasks you do in your job in each of the quadrants.
  •  In the bottom two quadrants (Don’t like/Good and Don’t Like/Not Good, immediately delegate these tasks to some else. You are not doing your best work in these quadrants.
  •  Over time you can even delegate your Like/Good quadrant so all you are left doing is things you love doing and are great at – your unique ability!!!

 Now there is a bit more behind the Unique Ability exercise but at its core it will help you understand what you should be delegating.

 So instead of being a control-freak, look for ways you can use the talents of your co-workers and how you interact with them by using these strategies. You may find that working with a team and delegating tasks makes your job much easier, the atmosphere at work much better for everyone and your company goals become very achievable.

 If you would like to know more about delegation or working out your unique ability let me know.