Question: What are some ways that I can train myself to be a better delegator for my employees?
Question by: Kelley
See It All Ahead
"In order to become a better delegator, you have to realize what tasks you need to do and what tasks you need to spread across your organization. As the founder, you need to be the visionary, the salesperson and the marketer, and delegate almost everything else to your employees."
"There's a two-word email that I'm constantly sending out to my employees -- "Your call." This empowers them to make the decision and take you out of the loop. If you train employees to think that every little detail needs to be run by you first, you haven't delegated anything. Not only that, but you've sent the message that you don't really trust them to complete the task."
Distribute the Power
"When I realized I was overwhelmed, it was tough for me to delegate even simple tasks. What helped me was knowing that those working with me want to be empowered to do more. Stop thinking of delegating as just handing off tasks to free up your time, but as empowering your team to grow and do their best. Soon, you'll find them taking on bigger projects with initiative."
Done vs. Perfect
"Delegating is tough because we all want everything to be perfect, and for many of us, that means doing it all ourselves. The only alternative is making sure you are thinking clearly about what you get out of delegating -- that means conceptualizing what constitutes as "good enough" and "done." Laying it out for your staff. The clearer the picture, the better."
Consider It Yourself
"Before you begin a new task, ask yourself these questions: Is this something I am uniquely qualified to do? Is this something I can train someone else to do? As a leader, your responsibility is to get results through the efforts of others. If you do not learn to delegate effectively, you will drastically limit your potential. Go through your task list each day and delegate everything you can."
Adjust Your Expectations
"Don't assume that when you delegate a task, it will be done exactly the same way you would have done it yourself. Everyone works differently and to different standards, but it's up to you to train your employees about what you expect from them. Give them plenty of leeway on projects (don't micromanage) and then do regular reviews to provide feedback and guidance."
Clarify the Ask
"The place that most entrepreneurs fall apart when it comes to delegating is in the ask. If you are delegating items and projects to your team, give them all of the information that they'll need to understand the task from your perspective. Many of the very important details get left out because the entrepreneur forgets to communicate the vision, big picture, goals, etc."
How Do You Like It?
"If someone is going to give you instructions, how do you receive them? Do you know your employees preferred method of receiving information? Are you delivering them tasks in that method? Figure out what your core competencies are and delegate everything else. Find out who is the best at what and make sure you give them projects aligned with those competencies -- in a way that they respond to."
Recognize the Cost
"To increase your motivation to delegate, get crystal clear on what you could be doing instead: following up on sales leads, launching a new marketing plan, taking some time off, etc. Then, when you're tempted to do something yourself, go back to your mind picture and use that as an incentive to delegate. Doing what is good crowds out what is best."
Let Go of Guilt
"Sometimes people hesitate to delegate because they feel guilty: "I shouldn't give them work I'm not willing to do," or "I feel bad making them do this menial work." However, you are actually giving them an opportunity to learn more about what you do and how you do it, and they will also benefit from your feedback, coaching and trust. If they resent the work, they're not the right fit."
"Sign up for project management software like Basecamp makes delegating tasks and keeping track of deadlines a piece of cake. Create a list of all the tasks that need to be completed, and assign them to each person's personal Basecamp account. They will receive email reminders of upcoming deadlines, and there is a discussion board where comments and updates can be posted."
Play the Game
"It may sound like strange approach, but I've found that playing large-scale strategy games (like Civilization 5) has helped train my delegation skills, and ability to respond to the problems that do work their way up the chain of command. Plus, it's a good way to blow off steam after a hard day of work!"
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only nonprofit organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. The YEC leads #FixYoungAmerica, a solutions-based movement that aims to end youth unemployment and put young Americans back to work.