Tag Archives: Delegating

Disengaged man with a hand over his face

How to Ditch Disastrous Delegation

I love cake. I mean, I reaaaally love it!

But say I am given a cake that serves twelve and I try to eat it all myself, I’m going to feel pretty sick. That’s not to say I don’t love cake anymore, but too much will leave anyone wiped out, lethargic, or just ill!

You know that, just by sharing a few slices, you could have avoided feeling totally rubbish but you really wanted it all.

And now you’re feeling awful, and your mates think you are totally selfish.

By giving away even just a bit, this whole situation could have been avoided.

So why are we talking about this?

I know it sounds obvious, but so many leaders want to just dive in and take on their version of the whole cake.

But business is no different. You need to share the workload. You need to DELEGATE!

Here’s the thing – something weird stops us

We must ask ourselves this first question – Why are we taking on too much in the first place?

This could come down to a number of factors, so let’s take a look at what they may be.

Need for Control

As a leader it is easy to feel like, as everything your team does ultimately falls back on you, it is best done yourself, isn’t it?

But, before you know it you can slip into one of two things – the micromanaging spiral, or the “I’ll do it myself” drama triangle.

It is natural to want to know what your team is doing at any one time, but you have to allow them to operate in their own space within your wider leadership.

I don’t know about you, but when someone is on my shoulder all the time, watching what I am doing, I end up telling them to do it themselves because I don’t feel trusted. 

And if you are already doing it yourself anyway, their confidence is going to be shot to pieces so then they probably would just end up fulfilling your fear of not doing it as good as you.

But you may have just created that yourself.

The reality of that need is often fear. The fear of failure and lack of trust that your team can support your aims. 

This is where you have to look at why you brought this team together in the first place.

You assembled this group to do a job for you and you must trust them when it comes down to distributing and delegating your workload. It will also help keep them engaged, interested and motivated.

Guilt

I hear it all the time, “Giving people work makes me feel guilty”.  “They will think I am lazy.” 

But this should be exactly the opposite.  That is your job.

Many of us have been brought up with a really great (too great) work ethic and have been taught that things should be hard work, or we should work hard.

So, when we start to delegate it feels like we are putting on others and shirking our responsibilities.

But we need to remember our role – To enable a team.

And forget that ingrained behaviour and belief system for the new one that recognises that real success is where we all play a role, not beat ourselves up for not being the hardest working person in the room.

Frustration & Disappointment

Oh, we’ve all been there when we get up the confidence to delegate and then Bam! 

Terrible result. ☹

We then go through the emotions of frustration, disappointment and beating ourselves up because of the good old “told you so, that was a bad idea. Should have done it yourself”.

But hang on a minute, we need to look at that in a different way.

Did we set them up to succeed or fail?

Did we make sure they had the skill, the will, and the way to achieve what we asked them to?

If not, then that’s our fault and, not only that, but we can also do a great deal about it.

And we must.

This is the art of delegation and of leadership.

To take our team from can’t do, won’t do, or don’t do, to can do, want to, and will do.

We need to help people see why they should do a task, why they should do it for you and how they should do it.  Then they can just get on with it with certainty and belief in their own abilities.

Because of course, no one will have the exact same vision or way of working within a group, unless we explain why it should be this way.

So, we need to be able to communicate and inspire those around us to see our vision and the output that we are looking for.   

Individuals may need a few attempts to get a task right but if you, as their leader, jump in too soon or too often and take over, you are robbing them of the opportunity to develop and save you work in the future.

And remember, they may even have a better way of doing something than you, if you would just trust and let them!

Over belief in our own abilities

Just because you have been doing this for 20 years, doesn’t mean that no one else could be as good as you. 

If you gave them the chance they would develop. 

But if they are better than you, then where does that leave you?

Maybe for some of us, ego gets in the way of developing others to a point that we can step back. 

We don’t want it as much as we need it!

So, we must see the bigger picture.   Remind ourselves, it is not about us, but about the greater good.  And we need to leave our ego at home, or we will be a very busy person indeed.

So next time you are worried about delegating, just think “how can I make this work” with three questions.

Is it can’t do, or won’t do or I don’t want to do it for you?

Then once you know, you are halfway there, and you can work on each one of these differently.

Then you will be able to have your cake and eat it!

If you would like to find out about that then that is exactly what we teach on our leaders’ development programs. 

Drop me a line to find out how you can get some help with implementing better delegation strategies and mindset for a happier, more confident team and a more chilled you.

Huskies

Delegation’s What You Need!

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Delegation’s What You Need!

I was speaking to a group yesterday – and what one of the group came up with was this question.  ‘If I am a precisionist, why do I find delegation so hard to do?’

Well, it’s obvious really.

But before we get to that – let’s look at the 5 main reasons quiet leaders don’t delegate.

  1. Fear that something will go wrong
  2. Believing it is quicker to do it themselves
  3. They don’t leave enough time to explain or train others before the deadline
  4. The fear others judging them as inadequate or dispensable
  5. They don’t build capability and capacity into their teams

And here are the 3 biggest reasons that you SHOULD delegate

  1. You are leaving your organisation open to the “bus risk”.  What I mean by that is – what happens if you get hit by a bus?  Not necessarily literally.  But what if you get sick, or someone you care for gets sick, or you break a leg, or just need a holiday.  Does everything pause while you are away, or are the team having to check in with you on the phone even though you are off?  Your team/organisation will be the loser if no-one can operate without you.
  2. You are risking staff turnover if you don’t give people opportunities to grow.  People need to learn new skills and take on more responsibility to feel challenged and needed in their role.  If you don’t give them that, they will eventually either walk away – or you wish they would.  By that I mean, someone who is not moving forward in their career is probably moving backwards and may end up being an underperforming problem for you to solve.
  3. You are holding yourself and your organisation back by distracting yourself or keeping yourself overly busy with stuff that someone else could do.  If you are not focused on the strategic – at least some of the time – then the chances are your organisation is surviving and not thriving.

Anyway, back to the story.  And you may be asking yourself – ‘what’s a precisionist?’

Well, as a ‘precisionist’ you want everything to be right, you are risk-averse and you are also probably a perfectionist.  And if you are a ‘precisionist’ then your natural inclination is NOT to give stuff away. 

The question came up – ‘how do I change that about myself’ and here’s the thing, you can’t really change how you are.

You can change your behaviour, of course, you can learn to accept some imperfection, for example, thought it will still get under your skin in all likelihood. But here is what you CAN do, in fact, what you MUST do.   

More important than your ability to change, is your ability to communicate with the person you want to start delegating to. 

If you don’t feel good about delegating, you will be unhappy and the person you have delegated it to probably will also not be happy.  They will pick up on your unhappiness, and if you haven’t communicated with them how you feel, then they may well assume that you don’t trust them, or you don’t think they are good enough. 

So – not only are you not comfortable with delegating, but the person ‘mind reads’ and fills in their own gaps.  And I guarantee they won’t think – ‘actually the problem is my boss is not comfortable with delegating.  They will think they are the problem.’ So, now you also have a staff morale and confidence problem.  Which probably mean they won’t be able to complete the task you have delegated.  And – CONGRATULATIONS – you have just become a self-fulfilling prophecy. 

However, it doesn’t need to be like that.

If you can communicate that you find delegating difficult, they will understand. Shock horror!  They won’t think you’re a loser and in fact, they will probably be relieved that the problem ISN’T them.  They will feel more comfortable, the relationship is improved, and the person involved will try and make things easier for you. 

You will then be able to express that you are stressed because you would usually do this task.  The other person will understand it is not about them and be able to reassure you that it is OK to feel like that, and they may even do stuff which means you feel more comfortable delegating.  They might check in with you about what they are doing along the way, for example.

This then gives you more confidence to delegate more.  And voila!  You have a virtuous circle and the luxury of being able to work ON your business and not in it.

If you’d like more leadership tips and strategies aimed at the Quiet leader – please go and join our Facebook Group Quiet Leaders With Impact

Delegating – It’s All In Your Head

I don’t know if you, like me, love the IDEA of delegating. It seems so logical and so sensible. And that’s because it is.

Really – most managers and leaders could get so much more done if they would just delegate more. And by delegating – I don’t mean DUMPING.

Dumping is the art of getting people to do the stuff that you don’t want to do or don’t like doing, and not really telling them how to do it, why they are doing it or the purpose, or what the benefit to them is of getting it done.

Dumping is what most managers and leaders do. And they don’t mean to do it, they really don’t. They WANT to delegate. They THINK they are delegating. But actually they are just dumping. And the reason for that it – it is all in their heads.

And that is like leading their team in a daily game of Family Fortunes. Like the team have to GUESS what the right answers are – because all the knowledge is in the leaders head. (did you ever see the one where the answer to everything was ‘Turkey’?). And that is what stops them from delegating properly. Ever heard anyone say “it’s quicker if I just do it myself”? Has that thought ever crossed YOUR mind? Michael Gerber’s brilliant small business success book – The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What to Do About It – is all based around this principal. He shows that all the time that all the knowledge in the business is in the leaders head, the business can never grow – and that person does not have a business, they have a job with the ‘worst boss in the world’.

In order to delegate properly you need to create the time NOW to document your knowledge in a way that is accessible by others. Yes – it may take a little time right now – but it will save you a whole heap of time in the future. Just think – if you can get that knowledge out of your head now, and into some process or system others can follow then that is the last time you have to do it.

So – when are you going to start? Or do you prefer playing Family Fortunes?