Find Out If You Suck at Delegation
Some days, heck, some weeks, I get overwhelmed. Between home schooling my son, running an agency, and having a life, I can find myself stressed out and disorganized. Dropping balls I didn’t realize were in mid-air.
But one day I finally realized that I’m not alone. I’m not alone at work, or at home. I have a consulting teacher that advises me on home school curriculum. I have family members who work for me and often help me with home schooling when asked.
That’s the thing. The ask. Why do we hesitate to ask for help? And why, in business, do we sometimes consider delegation a Plan B, rather than a strategic Plan A tool? I struggle with this constantly. So, do you, like me, suck at delegation? If so, read on.
Delegate to save time
What did I mean by delegation being a strategic tool? For one thing, used effectively, delegation can free up time on our overbooked calendars. Last month I blogged about how time is literally like money to us. I suggested a time management audit and provided a free tool to help guide you through the process.
It’s no accident that one of the options for addressing time management issues is delegation. You can delegate to employees if you have them, but if you don’t, you can delegate to Fiverr, to a marketing automation system, or to a vendor.
The tricky thing about delegation, though, is there are good ways to do it, and bad. Finding your back up against a wall and throwing projects to others in a panic as if you were unloading cargo to prevent your life raft from sinking may not be the approach. You’ve created a time crunch for someone and probably haven’t given them enough instruction on what and how you want something done.
Delegate to engage
If you are delegating tasks to someone on your team, be it family or business, you can create a win win situation. This could be a training opportunity or a way to mix things up. It’s important to consider who you’re delegating to, what their strengths are, and what they like to do.
Sometimes with training or shadowing, a person can gain experience that’s rewarding for them professionally or personally. My mom loves to do science experiments with my son. She videotapes the process, puts it to music and uploads it to YouTube so he can turn it in as proof of learning. Hence, I almost never provide proof of learning videos. That’s mom’s jam.
My brother is constantly expanding his knowledge of social media tricks. I’ve never received pushback from him when I’ve asked him to do something new to manage marketing or email automation, social media analytics tracking or posting. His continuous learning and growth helps him, helps the agency, and helps me.
Delegate to optimize efficiency
Sometimes it’s more efficient to delegate, particularly if you’re delegating to a contractor or vendor. Some things are not part of my core business. I could learn it, or task someone on the team to learn it. But if it’s less costly, in terms of dollars and opportunity, then I’ll pay someone else to do it.
What do I mean by opportunity cost? Sometimes we think about sinking our resources into learning, building and implementing something that’s not part of our core business. We spend so much time, energy, and money on that task, that we aren’t available when an opportunity arises that really is in our lane.
That’s the time when we should hire someone else to do portions of the work so that we can stay focused and available to run what is truly our business. I give examples of tasks that may be best delegated/contracted in “Seven Deadly Sins That Can Kill a Business.“
Final Thoughts: Learn More About Your Delegating Style
By now, you’re probably thinking, “She’s no better than I am. Why is she qualified to blog about this?” I mostly blog about what I know. And I know that sometimes I suck at delegation. But there is hope. I often go to the Mind Tools website that offers resources for professional and personal development. It’s been around for 25 years or more, and their materials are often just what I need.
So I’m encouraging you to take a Mind Tools self-assessment to determine how you’re doing with delegation. Then read more about it in the article that comes with it. (They allow you 3 free articles before charging.) In my blog, I simply pointed out 3 reasons that I find it powerful and strategic to delegate. Mind Tools covers many more. Continuing to learn and grow throughout your career is so important and satisfying.
So take the delegation quiz and read the article.
And speaking of learning and growth–don’t forget to sign up for the Summer Business Book Club. We’re starting to read about different personality types and how to manage them effectively for sales, supervision, coaching, and instruction.
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