The Art of Delegation
At our recent Leadership Breakfast, we had our guest speakers Rebecca Newenham business owner of the franchise ‘Get Ahead’, and Joanne McGowan, also from ‘Get Ahead’ (a virtual assistant organisation), talk to us about the art of delegation.
Given the level of discussion in the group, this is clearly an ongoing hot topic for senior managers and business owners alike.
Did you know that 30% of managers believe they can delegate well, and only 10% are considered effective delegators by their team? (Study by London School of Business).
To help those that couldn’t attend, I have compiled some top tips from the event.
When reading this article, I do recommend that you take the time, to pause and reflect on the questions, so to add value in how you can delegate more effectively.
So how do we start to delegate effectively? Here are Rebecca’s top tips:
What and how to delegate
1. Reconnect with your ‘why’
Why are you doing the work you do? Or why did you start your business?
Most of find that we are wearing too many hats – what are all the ones you wear? Start to make a note of the areas that come to you, and which ones you prefer to wear.
2. Reasons why managers often don’t delegate
As managers, we need to move into a position to feel confident in removing tasks from our own to-do list. Below are some of the typical reasons we don’t delegate such tasks:
Fear – assigned tasks won’t be carried out accurately
Trust – managers don’t trust their team enough to undertake those tasks
Time – we feel it will take too long to explain
Skill – managers feel their team don’t possess the skillset
Guilt – when everyone is busy, we feel bad that we might be putting more onto other people’s workloads
3. What to delegate
We need to understand what we want to achieve for ourselves, in delegating those tasks.
A strong way to start that process is by asking yourself the following questions:
· How long do you spend on the individual tasks daily/weekly/monthly?
· Who completes these tasks currently? (you, staff members, outsourced)
· Do you love, hate or feel indifferent to this task?
· Who could complete/ is best to complete this task ongoing? (you, staff member, outsource)
· If this is a task that could be done by someone else what is stopping you from delegating?
What was interesting for me. I noticed two blocks came up in answering the final question. The first was being unclear as to how I could automate the delegation of some tasks (the process). The second was that I set a very high standard of what I want to be skilled in, before handing it over. So for example, I ‘should’ know MailChimp inside out before delegating it. Even though there is no logical reason for me to be an expert in that. I was already aware of this, but this brought this home.
If you want a copy of the table, Rebecca Newenham has created, with a list of topical tasks, and the above questions in a logical order, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for your copy.
The next step is to ask yourself: What is the one thing, that if I delegated/outsourced, would have the biggest impact?
Top Tip – Break it down. Social media is too big. Maybe you just want to outsource your graphics, and keep the rest in-house.
Top Tip – Take it step by step. Do one bit at a time, rather than necessarily trying to do it all at once.
4. Choose who is the appropriate person to delegate it to – [added note by me, this may not always be the easiest person to give it to!]
5. Give them the skills, give them the tools – this includes deadlines, passwords, and anything else they might need. As mentioned by one of the delegates, we want to do more than delegate to individuals. We want to empower them, and set them up for success.
6. Gain commitment – ensure they fully understand the task. Ask, ‘What else do you need? Ensure they understand why the task is important, what level of importance it has, and why any deadlines are important. To maximise buy-in.
7. Measure success – keep an eye on it and keep measuring success regularly
8. Give feedback – give regular feedback on how they are doing [note by me – maybe invite feedback on your delegation skills too!]
Common mistakes when we delegate
Once we have committed to delegating a task. Here are the most common mistakes we make:
1. Not sharing how important the task is
2. Failing to deliver enough information
3. Failing to set expectations and deadlines
4. Not monitoring progress
5. Undervaluing the experience, or appreciation, of the individual doing the work
6. Letting procrastination get in the way of completing the delegation. Ensure you are blocking out time for the tasks, and limit time thieves, i.e. social media escapism
By being aware of these, we can take steps to maximise the chances of a successful outcome.
Having read this process, and completed the tasks. Make a note of between one to three things you are going to do differently going forward, and make a note of any deadlines if appropriate.
Do get in touch and let me know what stood out to you, or any changes you made as a result of reading this.
Thank you again to Rebecca, and all the delegates, for a great session.