Most of us are aware of the positives from delegating—we’ve heard them before. In theory, it’s a great concept: “Get other people to do your work for you…Awesome!”
We also know we can get more done in less time if we delegate properly. The results of not delegating include burnout, stress, and getting overwhelmed with mundane tasks that distract us from our most important responsibilities.
Yet, why is delegation one of the most underutilized skills in organizations today? Why don’t we delegate more? Delegation is actually a learned and applied skill. It takes an understanding of how to do it correctly, and conscious focus to create a habit.
Let me ask you: How many times in your life have you said this to yourself? “If it’s going to get done right, and if it’s going to get done on time—I might as well do it myself!”
Here are the Top 4 reasons we rationalize not delegating:
1.“I don’t have anyone to delegate to.”
We often believe we don’t have anyone to delegate to. Certainly, if you don’t have employees or a personal assistant, you may have stopped reading already. However—don’t fret. Delegation, at its’ most basic level, is simply having someone help you. Help can also come from peers, other departments, friends, interns, or even your children (please consult the child labor laws in your state first!) There are even examples of those who have mastered the art of delegation enough that they can delegate…to their boss.
2. “I’ve tried to delegate and it doesn’t work. I’ve been burned before.”
You’re right. Something didn’t get done right or on time because you gave it to someone else. You trusted someone, and they didn’t come through. Someone let you down. Someone made you look bad. Got it. It’s happened to all of us. But, here’s the key: Don’t make that an excuse to STOP DELEGATING FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE.
3. “By the time I explained it to someone, I could have done it myself.”
Quite possibly, there are things that could take just a bit more time to explain to someone else—the first time. However, if we think that way all the time, we WILL be the only person that knows how to do everything—and we will stay in the trap of having to do everything ourselves. But if we invest the time to delegate the first time, and that same or related item arises again…wallah! It’s now a time saver from that point on.
4. “I don’t want to ‘bother’ someone else…they already have enough on their plate.”
I liken this “bothering someone” mentality to asking someone to buy something if you are in sales, or even asking someone out on a date. Psychologically, there is a certain uncomfortable side to delegating. We don’t want to seem as if we are pawning work off on others. We don’t like giving people more work, especially if they, too, seem busy. However, if we are truly overwhelmed, who do we really have to blame if we never even ask for help in the first place? Who do we have to blame that we don’t have time for the important projects that we should be focusing our time on? Delegation often has to do with pushing ourselves outside our comfort zone, rather than “not feeling like asking” for help and continuing the pattern of taking it all on ourselves.
The key to delegating is the word “habit.” Using the above excuses rationalizes and enhances the habit of doing everything yourself. Avoiding this excuse creates the habit of delegating. Establish the pattern of delegating, especially on smaller or quicker tasks, to create a habit.
“A leader isn’t the person running around doing everything themselves. A leader is someone who inspires others to achieve the goals of the organization as a team.”
Like anything else, delegation takes focus, and a concerted conscious effort everyday—or we revert to our old habits. You have to WORK on being an excellent “delegator.” Place a one-word post-it note on your PC to help create this habit everyday. Bring someone along on that next big project. Look at your “To-Do List” and delegate 3, 4, or 5 items before you do anything else. Then devote your time to your big picture goals–and achieve MORE, in less time, with higher quality, and less stress.
You deserve vacation days without your cell phone going off, and you will be amazed at what your organization can accomplish.
About the Author: Andy Masters, MA, CSP has written 5 books, earned 4 degrees, and has earned the prestigious CSP award of the National Speakers Association (NSA). Andy presents entertaining and impactful programs on leadership, sales/service, and personal development topics. Book Andy today: https://bit.ly/2WWOZRn h