Delegation is much easier said than done. Successful leaders have good experiences with delegation. On the surface, it appears that all you have to do is just pull the trigger, and in low risk environments, that may be the case. That is often not as successful as intentionally setting your culture up for delegation. If your business is to grow successfully, you must be capable of delegation. Only those who are willing to sacrifice everything, including family, can micro-manage growth. If you are the type who enjoys total control, and feel you are incapable of delegation, then STOP reading here. I'll save you the time so you can get back to micro-managing your people. If you are the type who desires the ability to free up some of your time to concentrate on other aspects of growing your business, or even more important, you desire more time with loved ones, then read on.
I am going to share with you two secrets to being able to delegate. I say secrets because I want you to read this and think about it. To be brutally honest, after reading this, you will say to yourself that there is nothing secretive. Unfortunately, it is a fact that far too many leaders are not able to practice delegation successfully. Many people struggle with committing to it that they give up at the first sign of failure or undesirable results.
1. The 80% Rule:
It is quite simple, and will allow you some structure when you take that leap into handing off work that you normally do yourself (especially you control freaks).
If you have someone in your organization (you most likely have more than one) who can perform a task, that you normally do, to at least to 80% proficiency or greater of how you like it done, give that task to them. You may end up surprised that, with repetition, they become more proficient than you were at performing that task. Using this method affords you more of your own time to focus on the big picture and growing the business.
This is also a training opportunity. That "control freak" in you will have your skin crawling when the outcome is not quite how you like it. Think long term, and how using each delegation opportunity as a chance to develop your people. In doing so, you gradually build a culture of trust and initiative. You create more opportunity for your people to understand your expectations, how you want things done, and enhance their confidence to take initiative because they are confident they can deliver to your expectations.
2. Build the Culture from the Beginning:
If you are in the early stages of building your business, now is the time to be proactive and establish a culture that encourages delegation. Let's face it, the underlying issue, when it comes to delegation, is trust. A leader struggles with delegating because they do not trust that the task or job won't get done to the level that they desire. Also, people don't trust their leaders enough to take the initiative to take tasks off their plate, mainly because their leader's expectations are not clear, they micro-manage everything, and undo or overly criticize the results, etc...
Have you ever been led by someone like this? We all have at some point.
As you are building your organization, take the time to establish a clear picture of the type of people you desire who will help you grow. I have written countless times about building a "Leadership Culture." You must start with your morals and values, identify the traits and principles you want your people to have, and then recruit, and screen in accordance to your values and desired traits and principles. Identify in people, from the beginning, the qualities that would allow you the freedom to delegate. Don't wait until after you have hired someone to learn that you can't trust someone enough to delegate tasks to them. This eliminates the conundrum of taking a leap of faith and just delegating. Become intentional and strategic in your cultural design to allow yourself the luxury of delegation, even before you are large enough to truly need to delegate.
I will close with this:
Trust is critical to delegation. You, as the leader, are the one responsible for creating the atmosphere that trust can thrive in. If you are not building trust in your organization, then delegation will never take root. The level of which you are capable to delegate lies entirely on your shoulders.
Oh, by the way, once you have learned to delegate, don't become the type that corrects everything after someone has completed a task, but it is not exactly to your liking. There is a difference between quality assurance and nit picking. Re-writing or undoing everything your people have done for you will erode trust quickly.
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