Reclaim Time and Empower Teams

We're busy. You're busy. I'm busy. We talk about it all the time. "Hey, how you doing?" My typical answer? "Really busy!" We have to do something about this chronic busyness.

One of the best tips for digging out of your hectic mess? Delegate. When I'm coaching leaders on this topic, the number one excuse I hear against delegation is that they are "too busy". Listen, you're too busy to not delegate!

All good leaders need to know how to hand out responsibilities. I purposefully used the word "responsibilities" instead of "tasks" as our teams need to grow in their leadership capacities not just errand running.

Delegating tasks is good for a new intern. Handing over responsibilities is a much scarier proposal, but leaders on your teams need places to be able to have wins and to make mistakes too.

David Hassell in YFS Magazine suggests that you can become a more productive and effective delegator by:

  • Utilizing resources optimally - Don’t be afraid to use the four magic words in management — “What do you think?”
  • Picking the right person - Look for an employee that has: experience, flexibility, energy, passion, tenacity and technical know-how.
  • Providing thorough instructions and expectations - To effectively delegate, you need to create scalable, repeatable instructions and expectations.
  • Delegating the entire role - The more often you assign big responsibilities to the right people, the more competent and confident they become.
  • Focusing on learning - As you hand over greater responsibility through delegation, it’s important to understand that learning new skills often includes making mistakes.
  • Being realistic about perfection - Establish a consistent standard of quality and give employees a fair deadline, or time frame, to reach it.
  • Keeping tabs on progress - Delegation does not give you the right to disappear. Periodic follow-ups are crucial.
  • Recognizing and rewarding effort - When your project is a success, give credit where credit is due. Treat employees as true partners.

What do you need to delegate? If you don't even know the answer to that, sit down today and write out a list of all the projects you're working on. Pick a few and hand them off to your team.

David Hassell again:

If you’re not sure where to get started, just ask your employees. What initiatives would you like to see them tackle? Delegate your delegation!

Rex Barrett @rexbarrett