The ability to be able to delegate effectively is a skill that can be learned just like any other skill. As business leaders or entrepreneurs, often we continue working hard and working extra hours because that’s what we need to do in order to get done all the things we want to. It’s what’s going to bring us success, right?
What if we could delegate the low-value tasks we do and just concentrate on things that will bring the highest return? You may be thinking, “That sounds like a nice idea but I’m not good at delegating or I haven’t had much experience with delegating work?”
The good news is delegating work is not difficult and can be learned. Over time, with more practice, you will get better at it and be able to dedicate more time to do higher-valued work.
Here are some simple steps that you can apply in order to become better at delegating in order to free up your time to do more strategic work.
- Make a list of everything you currently do. Find some quiet where you can think about all the things that you do or are responsible for. This may take an hour or a few hours depending on your workload. This is really the starting point. What may come as a surprise is to see all the things that you are currently doing that may not be the best use of your time.
- Start eliminating. A good rule to abide by is “why delegate when you can eliminate.” Look at your list and decide what you can get rid off all together. Are there things on your list that would not matter if you stopped doing them? Maybe you spend time every day visiting websites that do not add value to you or your business, as an example. If you cannot eliminate anything all together, that’s okay as we’ll address that in the next step.
- Decide what you’d like to delegate From your list, assess what are high-value tasks and what are low-value tasks that could be done by someone else. Examples of low-value tasks may include managing your calendar and appointments, booking flights or making any related travel arrangements, sorting through emails, making minor changes to a website, etc. Oftentimes, there are people who may be able to do the low-value tasks a lot better than you can and also a lot quicker too.
- Assess the resources you currently have. Transfer everything you’d like to delegate onto a fresh list. If you currently have a team, determine if your team member’s strengths or skills are a match for anything on your list. If you don’t have a team, now’s the time to start looking for help. The good news is there any many services available that can offer virtual assistant type services at a reasonable rate. One of the main advantages of using virtual assistant services is the flexibility that they offer. Depending on your budget, you can outsource work based on hours worked or for a particular project or type of task, to name a few.
- Offer training and systematize as much as possible. Training is going to be very important in order for this to work. Whoever is assigned the responsibility of carrying out the tasks you’ve now delegated will need to be trained on how to them, and understand what the expectations are. If you have processes documented, that will make it so much easier to pass on to someone else. The aim here is to systematize as much as possible, meaning everything that needs to be done has an agreed schedule of what, when and how often something needs to be done.
- Follow-up and get feedback. Initially, as you and whoever you’ve delegated work to, are getting used to this new arrangement, regular communication is going to be really important. Checking in and getting feedback is going to be key in order to ensure that things are working the way they are supposed to. If milestones are not met, finding out why and what can be done to address any challenges will be critical. The key is to be patient at the start and allow things to improve over time.
One thing to remember is when delegating, you are giving up control over some things but you are still responsible for those things. Delegation should not be seen as micro-managing someone else but as an opportunity to empower another person to express their skills and talents while they are helping you out. The rewards for becoming a more effective delegator are enormous. Being able to concentrate on high-value work is one of the foundational principles of being a successful leader or entrepreneur.
Question: What are some things you’d like to delegate or have already delegated to others?
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