The Art of Delegation
By Linda Anderson
Delegation is an essential skill to learn if you are someone who takes on lots of responsibility. This applies to your workplace as well as your personal life. You might be a business manager, a soccer coach for ‘Under 12’s’, or a mother of 5 children.
When you try to “do it all” there is a tendency to think this means “do it all – by yourself!” which inevitably leads to stress, burn-out and the odd tantrum. Delegation allows you to “do it all” without the need for tantrums!
Delegation is a skill and therefore can always be improved upon. If you delegate poorly you will get bad results. If you delegate well you will be able to achieve more than ever with no increase in your own personal demands.
Almost every client I have ever had has needed to refine their delegation skills. It is from this work that I have developed my guide to effective delegation – The Art of Delegation.
THE ART OF DELEGATION
Lose the Ego
- Where did we ever get the idea that we have to do everything?
- When did we decide that nobody else is as capable as us?
- Yes – you are wonderful! But so are a lot of people so lose the ego and let some other wonderful people lend a hand.
What skill set will someone need to do the delegated task well? Who do you already know with that skill set? Write down three people you know that are a match to the skill set.
Remember – you want someone to do a really good job for you so choose wisely.
Give permission to say “NO”
Many of my clients say to me “I feel bad asking people to help. Everyone else is busy too”.
When you ask someone to take on a task for you let them know it is OK to say “no”. If the person is too busy already then they won’t feel awkward in declining your request.
This is another reason I asked you to list 3 potential people to delegate to – the first person might say “no”
If someone says “no” be sure not to look cross, or sound disappointed. Remember – you told them it was OK so say know so you need to behave like it is OK.
Be Clear in your Request
This sounds simple but for many it is not as easy as it sounds. Take the time to clarify exactly what you need before approaching someone.
You might know exactly what needs doing but you still need to communicate it. Don’t assume the person taking on the task has the same knowledge as you. Make sure you create a opportunity for questions to be asked.
Make it easy to say “YES”
The easier it is to say “yes” the more likely it is that someone will say “yes’!
How do you make it easy to say “yes”?
- Keep the request simple
- Be clear about what you are asking
- Outline why the task might be appealing to accept. Perhaps it will extend their experience, or allow them to meet new people; or raise their profile.
- If you are delegating a really big job consider an incentive. For example – the Outrigging Club I am a member for provides $100 credit for anyone who donates their time to Corporate Days (which involves taking a day off work during the week). The credit can then be used to pay for race fees, uniforms etc during the season. Incentives do not need to be based on money – be creative!
Be clear about Expectations
If you articulate your expectations clearly you minimise the chance of problems occurring.
Expectations include things such as:
- When do expect the task to be completed by?
- What is the standard level expectation?
- If there is any problem how do you expect it to be handled?
Accept a different Outcome
If you ask someone else to do a job you must accept that they will not do it exactly the same way you would. This means the outcome may be slightly different but that is OK. The result may even be better because the task was done a different way.
Everybody works differently. If you delegate you must allow each person involved to operate in a way that uses their personal strengths and attributes …not yours.
Once you have delegated you need to step back and let go! Nobody likes to be micro managed.
Remember – you chose wisely and have someone with great skills taking care of the task. As long as they know where to go if they have a question or need help your job is now to get on with other great things.
When you delegate you have essentially asked a favour of someone. Remember to thank them for their work and tell them how it has made a difference to you. Not only will it make them feel respected and recognised but it also means they are more likely to help again in the future.
Managers can be guilty of missing this step. Just because someone works for you does not mean you have the right to delegate without expressing gratitude.
A little gratitude will go a very long way!
Linda Anderson is a Certified Professional Coach dedicated to helping people live bold and rewarding lives. Linda has an energetic and direct style of coaching which suits people who like to be challenged.
Linda has a passion for travel. In 2002 Linda and her husband sold all their belongings, hit “pause” on their respective careers, and spent 365 days travelling the world. They visited places they had only dreamed of and had experiences they never anticipated. They did not work a single day.
In her spare time Linda can be found racing Outrigger Canoes, hiking, travelling or curled up on the couch with a good book.
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