How to delegate successfully is something that the best of entrepreneurs have managed to get right in order to accelerate their productivity. People like Richard Branson have spoken about the power of realising your strengths and weaknesses, and delegating accordingly. It’s something so many people don’t realise can save you so much time and more importantly – energy.
What is Delegating?
Delegating, essentially, means handing over parts of work or tasks to others.
And when I think of the word, I actually think back to being in Leaving Cert Business class.
In our textbook, there was a whole chapter on delegating. It said “successful managers learn how to successfully delegate. And to be successful in business, you have to know how to successfully delegate.”
You’re Only One Person
Obviously you can only progress so much as one person, yourself. You have to rely on others if you really want to accelerate your growth in business.
And if you don’t master this – no one will want to work with you.
The champion in this space, Richard Branson, talks openly about realising the necessity or delegation. He says himself that he’s not that skilled in all of the areas of business. He recognises his strengths and weaknesses, and delegates accordingly.
I think it’s amazing to hear someone say that. Coming to terms with that was something that really propelled him towards how to work well with others because he was self aware enough to recognise that he was in need of it.
I think it’s always inspiring when you hear hugely successful people in business talk so openly about their weaknesses and the journeys they went on in terms of learning certain skills. Being vulnerable how strength to it.
How To Delegate
If you do master delegation, people will love working with you. And people will empower you by taking on more work so you can do more and more.
Step 1 – Communicate
The first thing I would say is that if you’re working with anyone, sit down with them and get to know them. Have what might be a slightly awkward conversation and ask questions like “If I’m working with you, how do you like to be worked with?” “How do you like me to communicate with you?” “Do you want me to tell you that you’re doing things ‘badly’ upfront? Do you want me to do it in an email?” “Do you like me talking jobs through with you in person, or writing instructions?”
Everybody works differently. And more importantly, everybody communicates differently. Essentially, in mastering delegation, you have to master communication.
Step 2 – Actually Delegate
Whenever it is that you’re delegating something: actually delegate it!
Don’t give something with no context or information that is needed to complete the task successfully – or to the level it is that you are looking for. If you haven’t given enough relevant information – it will come back to bite you in the quality of the work produced. And that will fall back on you, not the person completing the task.
Sometimes people say sort of off the cuff “will you do this for me?”
And the person has to ask; “Do what?”
It’s striking the amount of times people don’t realise they’re being unclear when trying to convey something. Your employee might say: “Ok, well in order to complete this task I need X, Y and Z from you.” And that process becomes really taxing for both people involved.
So make sure you have clearly stated what it is you want the person to do, and give all that they need to do that. Give access to whatever platforms the’ll need, all the guidance and supporting content to do the task exactly as you want done.
Let them know, if this is done successfully, this is what this will look like.
All that guiding information will dramatically increase the chance of success when you delegate.
But also, you’ll feed the relationship by empowering somebody else to go out and actually do the job, rather than having to go back and forth with you about bitty bits of information all the time.
Step 3 – Appraise
Whenever the job is complete and sit down with the person and appraise them appropriately.
If they’d done a really good job – let them know. If areas could be better – let them know.
And then give an opportunity going forward.
Every time you delegate, it’s a learning experience.
It’s a Learning Curve
So the first time you delegate – of course it isn’t going to be done perfectly. Everything takes practice. But if you’ve had the conversation upfront – the next time you do something, provided the person is really listening and is present – it’s going to be a different world altogether.
Make sure the person knows that it’s ok to come back to you and ask questions in order to complete the task successfully. And the going forward – you know what kind of information you left out the first time – and therefore what to include in the first conversation the second time.
Relax into the Curve
So just know that the first time will probably be a bit “off.” But both parties, as I said, will learn. The second time things will be that little bit better. And you’ll both learn about not just the task but communicating with each other.
And this process will carry on until things are running seamlessly.
I hope these little snippets sparks a bit of curiosity. And if you’ve any further questions, don’t hesitate to get in touch and I’ll follow up with you from there…