Is work your life? Are you a perfectionist? Or, maybe a Micromanager?
Leaders who fall into one of these groups have one MAJOR problem: They can’t let go.
Surprisingly, if you look closer, some leaders are none of the above. They just haven’t done the inner work to disconnect how they FEEL about work versus what actually NEEDS to get done efficiently and effectively. Mindblower…pouf!
Entrepreneurs and leaders are trained to have zero tolerance for laziness. It’s a key ingredient to their success. Somehow it also comes with a healthy dose of…? Yup you guessed it, guilt. Sheer, gut-wrenching guilt with an inner voice crying out “if I can do more, I should”. And in a new business, there’s always more to be done.
Despite how uncomfortable it may be, delegation is a critical skill all leaders must master to be successful. It will give you the brain space and time to devote to doing what you do best “being a visionary” but it will also empower your team. Step one? being self-aware of this. It’s hard to do, but is anything worth doing ever not?
1. Put real thought in what you want to delegate
Clearly assess the tasks you have on hand and assess which ones aren’t for your highest and best use. Once this list is compiled, incorporate delegation into your existing workflow via staff development and project management plans. You don’t want delegation to be just another task you have to do, but rather a natural part of your existing processes.
2. Be strategic - give tasks that prioritize your teammates’ careers with increased responsibility
Leaders know that their businesses are only as strong as their teams are. For your team members to grow individually, they must have opportunities to prove themselves. You may worry that if you empower them and expand their skill sets, they’ll just leave. To that concern I’d say, you should be more worried if you don’t -- and they stay. Delegate tasks that push your team members outside of their comfort zone and challenge them to reach a new level of creativity and leadership.
3. Set you team up for success by educating when delegating
Too busy to train someone? This is exactly where dedicated focus should be given for delegation to be successful for you and to the designated team member. This is how you show team members that you value their continued growth. Effective teaching and mentorship are their own worthwhile skills to practice here. If it feels hard, keep going. This is where you are executing the greatest service: you helping your employees grow, while stretching and strengthening your own teaching muscles, too.
4. Elvis has left the building
Tell your team to "make it awesome" and let them run with it. They do best when they know there is a high expectation, but they need to get there without hand holding. Instead of requiring people to do the work exactly how you would have, respect and appreciate the varied styles your teams use to get to the end result. Make sure the technical aspects of the task are clearly defined but allow room for independent thought. If you’ve hired well, your mentorship will plant the seed for some great ideas you may never have even considered.
5. Keep At it.
Teaching and learning is not always a linear process, and it doesn’t happen smoothly or overnight. The person you chose to delegate to might not grasp exactly what you’re saying the first time around. They may put in a good faith effort but fall short. Do NOT take the task away. Use it as a learning tool to recognize where the process went wrong and how it can be made better.
Being a self-aware leader means acknowledging that you aren’t a superhero. You’ve intentionally hired your team members to bring skills to the table that you lack. Use smart delegation techniques to grow those employees -- and watch your business grow as a result.