Finding the motivation to Delegate
Delegating is hard because in reality, it’s easier and faster to do it yourself.
So it’s hard to convince yourself to do a harder thing that takes more time.
But doing it yourself only saves time in the moment. If you teach someone else how to do it and delegate, it saves you that time forever after.
The problem is that if you don’t delegate, you get stuck personally in your career because you become a work-horse.
And in a business, if your managers are not delegating, then your business gets stuck because managers are not developing strong enough teams that are able to do the necessary work, because they are too busy doing that work themselves.
Get More Specific
I have found it helpful to think about delegating based on specific projects instead of thinking about delegating as a general thing — like I hear from so many people, “Yeah, I should get better at delegating”, “Yeah, I know I should be delegating more…”
That general line of thinking does not give you much of a hook to make it a priority and take any specific action.
Instead, here are two specific instances and reasons to delegate. Start here.
Idea #1. Repetitive Tasks
Look for a time-consuming task that you do repetitively.
If you are starved for time, one of the best solutions with the biggest payoff is to teach someone how to do a thing that takes up a lot of your time on a regular basis.
If this task takes you 2 hours, and you do it every week, the cost of say, 1.5 days to teach someone else how to do it seems implausible. I don’t have 1.5 days. I’ll just do it myself. You can convince yourself that 2 hours is not that costly, and that you can’t afford the 1.5 days.
But if you invest that 1.5 days, you will:
1. Get the pay back in less than 2 months
2. Get that 2 hours per week back forever after. That’s a day a month! Who could not use an extra day’s worth of time in the month?
3. Open up the possibility that the person you teach might get better at the thing than you are over time.
If you don’t delegate you are artificially holding back the performance of your team to only ever be as good as you are.
That is a real shame and is the opposite of your job as a leader — which is to develop a high performing team beneath you, so that they are adding more value and you are freeing up your time to work on the appropriate high value things you need to be doing at your level, so that you are adding more value too.
This gets me to my next specific idea…
Idea #2. Top Performers
Instead of starting your thinking about what work you should delegate, try thinking about the people themselves. Who is your top performer? What might they be capable of?
Talk to them about their goals and aspirations. When you understand their talents and their goals better, then identify a big, meaty part of your workload, something important, and delegate it to your top performer.
It will be a motivating opportunity for them, and a huge opening of time for you.
What if it doesn’t come out right?
The other big road block to delegating is that fear that the person will not do a good enough job (as good as you would), and that you will be left with an embarrassment or a crisis.
When you delegate and it doesn’t work out, there is always a nagging question…Did this not work out because the person was not capable? Or did it not work out because I could have done something better when I delegated?
There are many things you can do as a manager to reduce risk in delegating.
The goal is NOT: Delegate and learn to deal with your fear. The goal IS:Delegate in a way that you feel confident and unstressed about it.
Once you start thinking about delegating as not just assigning work (and worrying about it), but as an excellent method of teaching, developing and building value, you will see how you can delegate more and build confidence and value into the process.
If you want some support, tools and encouragement to help you move your career forward consider joining my Executive Mentoring Group.
I’d love to help.