Some of you are already rolling your eyes after reading the title. “I’ve tried it before and it doesn’t work.” “The last time I gave them something different to do they messed it up.” Or my personal favorite: “It takes too much time to train them to do it. I might as well do it myself.” Every one of those excuses holds little credibility when you consider this thought: You must say “No” to things of lesser importance so you can say “Yes” to things of greater importance.
Your continued professional and personal success depends on your ability to fully focus on your highest priority tasks. Holding on to any lower priority activities simply limits your level of productivity on a daily basis.
If successful delegation seems like a futile effort to you, remember these 4 ways to keep you on the path to a higher level of productivity:
#1 Teach. When you’re extremely busy, your tendency is to just throw the task at them, or maybe give a few key details. To better ensure that they can achieve success with the task, take the time to teach them about the why as much as the what. Give them some background on the value of the task to you, the organization, or even to them.
#2 Time. One of your frustrations with delegation has been that it takes the other person a longer time to complete the task than if you did it. Well of course it does-you’ve done it countless times. Be patient with their progress and focus on the value of the extra time resources you will have once they are running at full speed with the task or activity.
#3 Trust. The tendency is to hover over the person handling the task to make sure that it’s done just the way you would do it. Instead, focus your teaching time on a clear description of the expected outcome and trust that they will choose the best processes to complete the task.
Remember, someone had trust in you that you could complete the task correctly the first time.
#4 Thank. The delegated task may have required the person to step outside their comfort zone. Or they may have had to put some of their higher priority tasks on hold to help you. In either case, thank them BEFORE they being the task, DURING the time they are working on it, and AFTER they finish it. Sure you should review the outcome to identify strengths and weaknesses of the finished task for future improvement, but the discussion will go much more smoothly if they know you appreciate the effort they took in doing the task for you.
If you’re still resisting even after this case based on the 4 ways, look ahead to your next potential task that could be delegated and ask, “What could I do with the time it will take to complete it if it was delegated to someone else?”
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