Should you delegate more?

Delegation is so hard… We all know we should delegate more… yet we often hesitate, and convince ourselves that we can do the job better and faster.

Dave Lakhani, business consultant and author of The Power of an Hour (Wiley, 2006), suggests 5 simple questions to help you delegate more.

1. Who else can do this?

Decide who would be qualified to do the job you need help with. If that person is already overwhelmed, then decide together how to prioritize their existing tasks. Maybe a less important job can be put on the back burner until they accomplish the more urgent task.

2. What is the job?

What needs to be done? How will you know the job has been accomplished correctly? What are your expectations?

Be very detailed. The more you expect a task to be completed “perfectly,” the more specific you have to be. Describe the standard by which you will judge how well the task has been accomplished.

3. What support is needed?

Give the person you are delegating to the authority to accomplish the task, as well as the resources required to complete it. It could be as easy as an introduction via email.

4. What are you going to do?

Before walking away, ask for feedback. Ask the person to rephrase what is expected of them.
If you are not on the same page, or if there is some miscommunication, or room for interpretation, then you shouldn’t be surprised that the results are not what you expected.
Additionally, make sure that person is truly committed to accomplishing what is required.
Dave Lakhani explains: “Do not skip this step. If you do, this is the overriding reason delegated tasks don’t get accomplished.”

5. Will I get out of the way?

You can’t delegate half way. Presumably, we’re not talking about a kidney transplant here, so give your team member some freedom. Mistakes may happen, but under your nurturing guidance, your colleague or employee will do better next time.

“If you start micromanaging or looking over the employee’s shoulder, you not only rob him of a feeling of worth & ability, you’re wasting your time and reinforcing the wrong expectation” insists Lakhani.

By trusting someone else to do something you were doing before, you free up your time so that you can focus on the tasks that only you can do.

Phil Zeltzman, DVM, DACVS, CVJ, Fear Free certified
Co-Founder of Chronos LLC