Delegating effectively is an essential condition of the leader. We cannot lead projects of any size or nature if we do not know how to delegate important tasks to other team members.
Although I think before we must differentiate between an entrepreneur/entrepreneur and a self-employed/self-employed person. What do you want to be an entrepreneur or self-employed?
Mindset or attitude? The mentality is important, others speak of attitude, what is clear is that you can be very good at what you do, but there is a long way to go from there to building a project for the future. The fundamental basis is the constitution of a responsible professional team aligned with your values.
Many times the problem is that many of us think that we are already very good at delegating, that we know how to identify with certainty which tasks we should delegate to other team members and that we communicate effectively when it comes time to delegate.
Unfortunately, Delegating effectively is one of the most prevalent problems in the business world. and, at the same time, the one that most affects the performance and growth possibilities of a company.
We wonder then, How to delegate effectively? How do we learn to do it? We can improve? The reality is that, like any other important professional skill, we can learn to improve.
In this article, we are going to explore this professional skill and Discover the keys to delegating effectively.
The “Natural” Evolution from Leading to Delegating
After a life ofworked”, it can be very difficult to make that transition to the role of director or manager. As both roles suggest, they direct or manage activities in an organization. And while it may hurt our pride or even make us question our impact on the company, it’s not our job to “work”. Here is the paradox that we must understand and face.
When we are leading a team, a department or an entire organization, our responsibility is lead a group of professionals to transform it into a team and get them to invest their time and effort in producing the desired optimal result. The leader should no longer (the word “have to” is key here) perform those activities that a subordinate member of the team may be doing, thus leaving more room for the leader for tasks with greater added value.
The difficulty that many of us have in this regard is of multiple natures. The first is our habit of doing things ourselves.thus ensuring that they are done “as we want” and that the final finish is just what we want. Sometimes a dangerous perfectionist mentality lurks here that makes us believe that a delegated task will be a task that will not meet the standards that we consider as “good results”.
The secret is communicationhow we communicate to our team what we want.
The second is a matter of impressions and opinions: “What are people going to say if they don’t see the boss at work?”
As leaders, the work we do will look very different. We must organize the work to be completed to keep business operations moving forward, devise process improvements, solve medium and large-scale problems, interact with multiple parties (internal and external) who are critical to the essential activity of the project, ensure that different teams and departments are productively connected, among other higher-level tasks.
So when we get into this leadership position, the most natural thing is that we start to delegate work that other team members could doopening space in the calendar for other activities with greater added value that only we can carry out.
Let’s stop thinking about what others think of me, the only important thing is what you think of yourself. Nobody better than you to know that without your growth strategy, without your experience to lead the project, things would not be the same. It’s more you and only you, knows everything you’ve been through and suffered to be where you are now. Value yourself and focus on what is productive, direct without faultis the best you can do for your project and company.
How to Choose the Tasks to Delegate?
There are a couple of tools and criteria that we can use to better understand which tasks we should delegate. Whether or not we have the right professional on the team right now, understanding how to choose the tasks to delegate is a priority. In addition, this process will inform us if we have any lack of people with special characteristics in our work team and will invite us to look for a profile in due time, who can help us solve it more effectively.
As for the criteria to be used, we can think of those small tasks that do not take much time but that are very abundant and frequent. Things like scheduling meetings with clients, managing incidents, dealing with suppliers, meeting with some clients, ordering office supplies, or even processing emails. We can also include data processing tasks here, such as passing information from LinkedIn to your CRM and the like. These require more time commitment but virtually no special skills, so just about anyone can do them.
All these tasks require relatively little time but are recurring and somewhat inconvenient, so they can take up a large part of your schedule.
At the same time, we can think of tasks that take up a lot of time but do not require specific skills or our particular intervention. These are especially delegable, since they will allow you to do much more within your line of work.
Finally, we have the criterion of talent. This is probably the most important and the most difficult of all, as it requires a critical evaluation of our abilities and an honest and vulnerable acceptance that someone else can do better than us. Perhaps it is a task that we can very well do ourselves, such as preparing the text and design of an email campaign to offer a service promotion. Nevertheless, there is a chance that someone on the marketing team could do a better job without our interventionWell, that’s what it’s all about, that’s the challenge of finding the talent we need that can not only match them, but surpass us.
Micromanagement, also known as the micro managementis not only an obstacle to delegating effectively but is also a cancer within organizations Of all sizes.
This negative quality is what leads many leaders to closely observe the activities of team members and try to control each of the processes, all this with the useless aspiration of achieving optimal results.
The business and management literature clearly captures the true results of micromanagement: decreased worker morale, decreased productivity, decreased commitment to the project, dissatisfaction, loss of trust in management and leader.
Even many studies show that micromanagement by leaders is in the top 3 reasons why professionals quit their jobs, thus reflecting the seriousness of the situation.
Micromanagement is a risk especially for new leaders and for those managers with a young team or with whom strong bonds of trust have not yet been established. A personality with a perfectionist tendency can also lead to micromanagementso we must be very observant with the way we approach our work and that of the professionals within our team.
We must understand that micromanagement is the opposite of delegating effectively, since our time and energy are in critically observing the process through which our workers do their work. If we do that, when do we do our worked?
We must learn to relinquish control. Then to establish trust in the people who work with us. Understand that perfection is an ideal that works as an obstacle for thousands of projects. Learn to clearly communicate tasks and expectations, leaving the rest to the professionals on your team.
Finally, we must understand that everyone in our organization, including ourselves, is in a learning process. We will make mistakes and we will learn from it. The cost of micromanaging is much, much higher.
Final Steps in Delegating Effectively
Earlier we mentioned clearly communicating tasks and expectations. No surprise here: effective communication is the key to successful delegation.
The first step is to communicate to our team or to the specific worker the reason why we are delegating said task. Explain why we are choosing this person to delegate and mention the possibilities of learning and growth that will derive from the activity.
Next, let’s be very clear on the true details of the task: the objective to be achieved. No worker wants to be told the process or method through which he is going to do his job, at least if he has not asked. In that they are right. The worker knows how to get there and explaining the details of the process through which completing the task is simply a version of early micromanagement.
Finally, delegate not only the task but also the authority over it. We must know how to identify when it is possible to give authority to the worker to decide whether the task is complete or not, whether the outcome is favorable or not, whether to delegate it to someone or not. Leaders who never delegate responsibility end their days drowning in questions from the team, since there is a gatekeeper that does not allow them to finish their work: us.
And let’s not forget to say thank you. Key to good leadership, we must always thank the team for the work done. It is not only valid but very important that the gratitude is accompanied by feedback whenever possible, regardless of whether the result was positive, average or bad. Feedback is what allows the professional to improve what he does.
If we have any aspiration that our project becomes a serious and functional company, delegating effectively is a non-negotiable condition.
Ask yourself the following question: As a leader, if you were absent from work for a week, would the company continue to operate? If the answer is “no”, you have a lot of work to do. Before blaming the team, review your delegation skills. Are you choosing the tasks to delegate well? Are you micromanaging what you delegate? And only then, is the team prepared? Have you provided the learning and training resources to prepare them?
Once we learn to delegate effectively, we will unlock the growth opportunity we are seeking for our companies and our team.