Are you a always busy and wishing you had more time? Do you wish you could just focus on the main things rather than all the essential daily tasks that clog up your life?

 ‘Delegation’ is a much misunderstood concept.

I know people who say they have tried to delegate but that it didn’t work. ‘Pesky people’ didn’t do what they wanted. So now they have convinced themselves that it is quicker, easier and simpler to just do it themselves.

Right here we have the number 1 lid on many people’s leadership and therefore the growth of their business.

Delegation is like a lot of things, easier said than done.

Some principles of delegation:

  • Delegate the task but not the responsibility. It is you getting a task done through another person’s efforts. If the task is not done properly or on time then the responsibility is going to still be with you.
  • Delegation requires clear authority. When you delegate a task you need to give the person not only a clear job description but also the necessary authority. In reality they share your authority, but that needs to be communicated to all stakeholders to enable effective cooperation.
  • Delegation requires clear instruction. The person delegated the task needs to be trained to do the task the way you want it done. This is why so many try delegation once or twice and say it didn’t work. This is because they give someone a task without clear instructions, authority, training or deadlines and then when it isn’t done in the way they want or the time they want they become frustrated.
  • Delegation requires clear time-frames. You never give away control when you delegate, you must give a date by which the job must be done and instruct the person to inform you immediately if there is any issue with completing the task within the given time-frame.
  • Delegation requires appropriate supervision. When you delegate a simple task to a reliable person minimal supervision is required. When you delegate a more difficult task to a someone who has never done it before, it is wise to not only instruct but to also provide a level of supervision. Be there for them. E.g. make sure they know they have access to you to ask questions.
  • Delegation is a training opportunity. Delegating a challenging one-off task to a potential leader is a good way to test their ability and their attitude before you promote them to a new position.

There are three levels of authority whenever you delegate:

  1. Act (just do it, only tell me about it if for some very good reason the task could not be done). This is for basic regular tasks, and/or tasks done by people who have earned your trust.
  2. Act and Inform (do it and let me know when it is done and how it went). This is for more difficult or irregular tasks and/or tasks done by people who have not yet earned your trust. 
  3. Act after Approval (have a think about this and let me know what you plan to do BEFORE you do it). This is for trickier tasks that require skill and sensitivity no matter what level of trust you have in the delegatee. Tasks you need to be involved in more closely.

Delegation is a great way to multiply your time and effectiveness when it is done well.  If you are a busy person a great question to ask with every task you do, “Is this something someone else could be doing?” And an even better question, “What are the essential things I must do in order to take my business, organisation forward?” Everything else can probably be delegated…if you will loosen your control for a moment and follow the principles of delegation.

INTEGRATE: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth | John Drury

Integrate: Why Work Life Balance is a Myth and what you really need to create a fulfilling lifestyle

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