A 2013 Stanford University study found that 35% of chief executives say delegating is something that they need to improve. The question is: why are we all so bad at delegating? As we explored in this post, great time management comes down to doing what you do really well and the rest? Well that’s for someone else to deal with.
If you want to delegate better and feel confident about the tasks you pass the parcel on, check out these top tips. We’ll take you through the art of delegation, from that initial hire through to setting tasks and measuring success.
1. Hire someone you trust
One of the biggest reasons we find it difficult to delegate is that we don’t believe the person taking over will do the task as well as we can. Hiring a virtual assistant or another person you feel like you can build trust with will mitigate those concerns – so that you don’t spend just as much time worrying about the task than you could have spent doing it.
Take time to find the right fit, asking specific questions and giving scenarios to see how someone might manage your tasks, before you hand them over. You may even wish to instigate a “trial period”, during which you can provide a few sample tasks that will enable you to find a working relationship that suits your requirements.
2. Give yourself an incentive
If you’ve been strapped for time, chances are you’re forgoing the things you actually want to do for the things you have to do. Rather than seeing it as a burden, see delegation as a way get back the things you’ve been missing. This could be a gym workout, or the chance to work on a personal project or new business line. The more you delegate, the more you get to work on the thing you’re excited about. Soon, you’ll begin to associate good delegation with more freedom.
3. Create a delegation wish list
Even if you know you need to delegate, when it comes to deciding what to delegate you may be stumped. Ideas might include:
- The tasks that are repetitive and easily replicated
- Admin tasks that don’t require specific subject expertise
- Anything you don’t like doing (yes you heard us right – that’s the joy of delegating!)
As you’re working through tasks, cultivate the habit of making a three column list with tasks you want to keep, tasks you could outsource and tasks for immediate delegation. This will help you to split up your to do list so you know exactly how to answer when your new assistant asks “what should I do next?”.
4. Set your hire up for success
Whether you hire a virtual assistant, PA, administrator or sales buddy, part of handing over is setting them up for success. Before you hire someone, create a process for how you’d like the delegated work to be managed. Then try to block out time periods to spend with this person, as this will save you more time explaining errors later on. For example, you might try sharing your screen on Skype to walk them through a task, giving them a Google doc to refer back to, or spending time with them face-to-face.
5. Retain visibility
For most of us, delegation signals a lack of control and this is why we put the brakes on. To retain control, create a visibility system where you can see what your helpers are working on and provide constructive feedback. Some of the top delegation tools we love here at ibLE include:
- Wunderlist – great for sharing a to do list and seeing when tasks are completed.
- Google Sheets – ideal for a shared spreadsheet that can be edited simultaneously.
- Asana – a full project management tool for assigning tasks and deadlines.
6. Create clear expectations
Often, the reason you’ll want to delegate is because your to do list has exceeded your capacity. Which means when it comes to sharing that to do list, some of the most important aspects become forgotten. With any task you’re delegating try to include clear guidelines. This could include a soft and firm deadline, timescales for the project, banned phrases/actions and non-negotiable aspects which must be fulfilled in order to mark the task as “complete”.
7. Provide feedback
Early on in your delegation process, provide feedback. This could be notes and comments added to a Google doc, or a monthly or weekly call to discuss improvements. Most employees or virtual assistants will relish this opportunity to see exactly what it is you’re after and will often only need to be told once before they nail it next time.
Do you need an invisibLE assistant or personal PA to take the weight off your shoulders? We specialise in finding your perfect partner who will make delegation feel like a relief. Register here today.