Delegating Tasks: Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.
“Delegating task is not the easiest thing to do. It is definitely something that I had to work on." Trusting that you can put certain things in other people's hands and it's going to be done, “the way you want it done”, is not always the simplest thing. We all know people that have been labeled as “control freaks” and more so in the workplace you will hear the label “micro manager.” As a CEO or business leader it's definitely a skill that needs to be worked on and a skill that will be a benefit not only to yourself but to the team on a whole.
Choose what task you want to delegate
In delegating your task I think the best, smartest way to delegate is to choose the tasks that are more difficult for you as well as the tasks that you don’t like. There are some tasks that you will be required to do yourself and tasks that you like are usually much easier for you to handle. The task that is advisable for you to outsource would be the tasks that you are not able to do on your own. “I’m a kind of an in the weeds type person, I like detail, I like to see how it’s built.” There are people who are more interested in the bigger picture. They will say things like, “I don't want all that information,” They only want to see the finished product. It is the work that you’re not hands on with that you should outsource. When you are outsourcing, you will need to make sure that you are outsourcing to a person who has proven to be able to take these kinds of task and successfully handle them. Not necessarily the person who have the most time or is readily available. When choosing the person you want to think about, who has shown that they are best suited for this kind of task? Who has shown that they are better able to take a task and follow-it through to completion, successfully, so that you can also have peace? You can then trust that your task will be handled, maybe not exactly the way that you would handle it (I emphasize that because I know, I was that person!) but it will get done and it will be fine. Who knows, by trusting the process it may be better than the way you would have handled it.” Hence we need to ensure that the task that we delegate is delegated to the right person with the right attitude.
Delegating authority and not the task
We should ensure that we delegate authority and not just the tasks. One word for that is “empowerment.” We want to delegate the responsibility. We want to let the resource know that “I’m entrusting you to manage this”, “I’m entrusting you to make decisions and to make some determination based on what you know.” This decision can be dependent on what they know overall, the outcome or impact that it will have on the business or just the general task. This requires a willingness to trust that person to make determinations. You will need to delegate authority to people who will step up to that responsibility and that authority and move forward with it. Even though your approval may ultimately be needed the task and/or project can be 90% done by the time you give your stamp of approval. We need to empower our teams to move forward boldly. It’s amazing when people get the opportunity to step up what they are capable of doing. Particularly when they know that people have that confidence in them. And that is just a human nature thing!
Set a definite task completion date and a follow up system
This is the “by when”. As a previous Project Manager, I am very aware that to get to the goal that you set there are milestones that have to be hit along the way. There is normally a time line so that you can keep on track. Per example, you want to hit Milestone A by X date, and Milestone B by X date so that you are keeping on track to hit overall completion by X date. However, if something does get off track you can readjust. In order for us to complete our overall goal we need to keep the communication alive and provide clear instructions, where needed. The benefit of this is that you are not asking someone every day; “where are you with this” or “where are you with that”. That can become tedious, time-consuming and annoying for all. Instead, you can have milestone check in points so that you are on top of what will happen in each “by when” timeline that was set. This way the micro management and the control is taken away leaving the responsibility on the resource but you are still in the know. This also leaves the resource empowered in the knowledge that they are entrusted to take it every step of the way.
BONUS: Give public and written credit
“Give credit where credit is due. Give that pat on the back. Give that wow, that thank you. Feed people! Let people know that you appreciate what they did. Allow people to know “the positive impact that their actions have on your day, week, or life. They will appreciate the fact that you gave them the insights on what they do. I think that can make a big difference in people’s lives.