Effective Delegation - Part 1 of 2

As a business owner or a manager of a business it’s important to be the conductor in the orchestra rather than playing an instrument and certainly rather than trying to do both. Imagine the conductor of an orchestra whose job it is to coordinate all of the musicians to stay on beat, come in when they need to, get louder or softer and whilst doing this simultaneously trying to play the trombone!  It would be a disaster! 

Even though the musicians can read the music and should be able to get on with it.  The conductor is a necessary part of the orchestra for coordinating everything and should focus on just that in order to achieve the best possible outcome.  So should the business owner or manager of a business.  Trying to be all things to all people doesn’t work.

Implementing that learning is a little different though.  Delegating isn’t as easy as just asking someone to do a job for you.  It sounds like it should be but more often than not either what we get back isn’t what we expected or it doesn’t get done at all because we haven’t communicated priorities or the importance of the job.  This is basically abdication rather than delegation.

Of course, to delegate we don’t have to have employees and if you do have employees, you don’t have to be restricted to only those employees either. If their workload is maxed out then it doesn’t have to come back to you to do the work.  You have direct access to millions of people with different skills and experience. 

So many people say to me, by the time I’ve explained how to do this job, I might as well have done it myself.  That may well be true.  If it’s a complete one off and something that can be done quickly then perhaps it is better to do it yourself.  How many complete one off jobs to you get and keep getting in?  If it’s a lot then perhaps recruiting someone with the necessary skills and experience is important. 

If it’s a job that does come up often then it’s worth taking the time now to free up time in the future. Or if it’s a one off larger project then it should certainly be delegated.

Firstly, identify the jobs that you can delegate.

1. Map out the things you do on a regular basis of urgency vs importance. Note that importance specifically refers to whether it's important that YOU do it. Use this to single out the stuff that you really shouldn’t be doing at all and start with those things.

2. Go through your to do list with someone else, a friend, a colleague and get them to challenge you on why someone else can’t do the jobs listed.  For many it’s difficult to accept that others can do these things or it can be difficult to let go of them.  It’s easy to convince ourselves that we might as well just get on with them.

Obviously, if you just want someone to nip to the sandwich shop for you then the following isn’t so crucial, nor is it for request a photocopy of a document 26 times but for the more meaty jobs on your list then this is a great way to effectively delegate them.

Plan the delegation.  This process will help you tease the information out of our head to delegate it effectively.  It’s easy to omit important information that’s in your head when delegating which leads to further questions later down the line or the job being done wrong.

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