Tag Archives: Delegating


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?