Written by: Lisa Huetteman
The obvious solution, if you are an entrepreneur who is stretched too thin, is to hire someone to help you. The paradox is that when you hire someone, instead of getting rid of things to do, you’ve just added more items to your plate. Now, you have to communicate, motivate, delegate, and follow-up. You’re a trainer, a cheerleader and a payroll clerk. You fill the gaps where hand-offs happen. And if that’s not enough, when things get done, you must fix them because they aren’t done the way you want. No wonder people think “It is easier to just do it myself!”
Four Steps to Breaking the Delegation Paradox: G I V E
G is for Grow. Your company can’t grow beyond your limited capacity. So, if you want to grow your company, you must grow your team. Just because you can do the work, doesn’t mean you should. When the value of your time is greater than the cost of delegating, it is time to give the work to someone else. Growing also means helping people grow. Train them, develop them, and coach them to do their best work. Delegation without education leads to frustration.
I is for Inspire. When you communicate what needs to be done, be clear about why. In his TED talk, How Great Leaders Inspire Action, Simon Sinek shares how it is not what you do that motivates others, it is why you do it. When you delegate tasks, find people who believe what you believe and want to be part of the “why.”
V is for validate. You can delegate authority, but not responsibility. If someone makes a commitment to do something for you, you own that commitment as much as they do. Follow up and validate that the work was done to your standards.
Finally, E is for entrust. When you’ve trained them “how” and communicated the “why,” allow them to do it, even if they fail. Failing is life’s best lesson. Validate that you’ve trained them appropriately and then let them try again. You’ll gain a more valuable employee in the end.
GIVE delegating the attention it needs to make you successful. It may take more time in the short term, but in the end, it is the only way for you to grow.
Lisa Huetteman is a company culture expert, executive coach, author of The Value of Core Values: Five Keys to Success through Values-Centered Leadership, and co-creator of the Find My Perfect Job formula. Learn more about the keys to delegating at the Focus on Entrepreneurs Conference April 27-28.