By Bryan Orr

Not long ago I thought I was a strong delegator and my “delegating qualities” would look something like this: I would come across a task that I either didn’t want to do or that I didn’t have time to do, and I would ask (or tell) someone else to do it for me. The End.

It came as quite a shock to me when I would find out that someone didn’t do what I asked (or commanded). This would then trigger my “whining” mechanism and statements like: “You just can’t find good help these days” and “If you want something done right you gotta do it yourself” would come pouring into my brain and occasionally tumble out of my mouth.

All the while I was inwardly congratulating myself for being so awesome and that I was the ONLY one who could do it RIGHT.

As my business has grown, it has become clear that the whiny, “gotta do it myself” approach doesn’t scale well. I shifted my focus towards delegation that was focused not on my needs and requirements, but instead focused on the communication and accountability needs of the person being delegated to.

I found out that my former self wasn’t delegating; no, I had been bailing. Bailing out of the leadership role, bailing out of communicating in a detailed fashion, bailing out of being responsible not only for what I SAY, but what the other person HEARS.

Are you ready to start delegating instead of bailing? Here are the key steps:

  • Decide what outcome you are looking for and when you require it to be completed.
  • Identify the person best suited for the task or role. Hint: It isn’t always the most experienced person. Many times the best person is the one most interested in and motivated by the task.
  • Request that the other person take on the task or role. Don’t demand, let them choose it (or not).
  • Ask what they are hearing in your request. Do not say “Do you understand?”, they will just say “Yes,” and by that they mean they understand English. Instead, have them repeat back to you the request. Ask if they see anything that they will need to be trained on or if they need resources to complete the task.
  • Communicate a clear objective and a “by when” date and time for completion. Communicate who they should speak to or where they may look if they get stuck.
  • Get an agreement from them so that it is clear to both of you what has been agreed upon and when it must be done by.
  • Follow up on agreed upon time and date if you have not yet received the result as agreed.
  • Refer only to the agreement and not to what they could have done, but only on what they agreed to do and either have or have not done.

As you can see, delegating can be hard work, but it is the only way to leverage and scale your influence. The awesome thing is that once you learn how to truly delegate, you will start finding out that “kids these days” actually can work. You may also discover that if you want something done right, you aren’t the only one who can do it anymore. Who knew?

Where have you been bailing where you can delegate instead?