What is the work that only you can do? The answer to this question is fundamental as you navigate the demanding task of leadership. Whether you lead a business, a team, a project group or a school, you are constantly faced with loads of distractions.
The reasons for not delegating are as immense as the amount of tasks you can delegate.
Below are the Top 5 reasons we do not delegate –
1.) If you want something to be done well, you have to do it yourself – This belief is forged in the deficit mentality. Consider what you can control in the delegation process. You can control your communication, explanation, method & expectations.
Remember, just because something may have been done differently does not make it wrong. In fact, you may find that by delegating the project to someone else, you may unleash a better process or outcome. By keeping the task away from someone else, you hinder your own growth and the growth of your team.
2.) It will take me too long to explain or teach the task – Take a task that you do 1x per week. Imagine that it takes you 30 minutes to complete. During a month, that task takes you two hours. If you are able to take 1 hour to explain how to do the task to a direct report, you will have gained 1 hour that month. Expand that out to a year, and now you have gained over 20 hours.
It is important to not overlook the fact that you have also gained significant mental capacity because the task is no longer on your mental t0-do list. This mental gain may be a greater than the actual time savings. Your brain now has fresh margin to solve a problem.
3.) The other person is overloaded with work – We have a greater capacity than we think. Assuming that someone cannot take on the task may not be accurate. Perhaps there is a portion of the project they can take on vs. delegating the entire task. Instead of assuming that they are overloaded, ask them – “What part of this project do you have the capacity to complete?” or “What portion of this project would be of interest to you?”
4.) If I do not delegate all of it, I will not delegate any of it – It is easy to find ourselves in a ‘all’ or ‘nothing’ mentality. Find a few chunks of the project and pass those along to your team. Over time, they ought to be able to tackle the more difficult tasks.
5.) I do not know how to delegate effectively, so I do not do it at all – How is this working for you? Consider making a list each Monday morning of tasks you want to delegate. From there, invite an employee into your office and pass along a few of the key tasks. As an employee, I would value a face to face discussion or phone discussion vs. the quick email.
These five beliefs greatly hinder our ability to be leaders. It begins with answering the question “What is the work that only you can do?” – the answer to this question gives you focus. I would imagine that list would include everything from – Casting Vision, Developing Your Team, Giving Feedback & Resolving Conflict. That is the work that only you can do. From there, the remainder of your task list should include items that will empower your team and help them develop.