Whenever I have a business question – I turn to Google, or now, ChatGPT. But for this question, I didn’t. I wanted to get real-world best practices from those who I know and trust.
So I went to LinkedIn and asked, “Any tips on giving up control/delegating?”
And BOY, did my network deliver!
There were so many ah ha’s! So many actionable insights that I asked the contributors if I could turn this into a blog post. Whereas the amazing, Amber Gray said, YES! And suggested I delegate it 😉
Here are the Top 10 Tips to delegating by some of the most BRILLIANT and CARING leaders I know.
1. Focus on what you’re GAINING
As people, we hate to let go, we somehow think it’s a failure. The reality is instead of focusing on what you’re losing, encourage people to think about what they’re gaining? The time to focus on the bigger more complex issues that only they can solve. Embrace the places where you can add the MOST value or only you can address and everything else let go by hiring someone better than you!
2. GOTTA LET GO TO GROW!
It’s a right of passage to pass the torch. Think about what you want to be known for or great at, once you accomplish that….rinse, repeat, and create something else to be great at…delegate again. You can do this…you’ll soon realize you should’ve delegated a long time ago.
– Jennifer White, CEO, The MJW Group
3. Delegation leads to elevation
Not making time to teach and/or hand off responsibilities has potential to hinder employee growth while stunting your own ability to scale. We know the end game here- resentment and/or burnout.
4. Understanding the BIG WHY
Particularly regarding the emotional aspect of letting go: Business leaders are often control freaks (and I say that kindly because I’m talking about myself, too!), and we tell ourselves, “It’s faster if I do it myself” all of the time!
To quiet this inner voice, ask yourself,
What you would do if you had that time back to do something that ONLY you can do?
What greater impact could you have if the time you spent doing the thing was spent on something else?
Delegation, like many things in business, is more powerful and natural for us when we understand why we are doing something. That is, understanding the BIG WHY. If we can remind ourselves of that, letting go of some tasks is clearly the best way to reach our ultimate goal of making a positive impact.
– Amber Gray, CEO, Trusty Oak,
Who launched a course allll about this > earlybird50. Course Details Here
5. Run through worst case scenario
Perhaps setting guardrails around the worst case scenario, where delegated tasks don’t get done, might work. I.e. Similar to SOPs, sharing clear expectations and consequences for unsuccessful attempts might provide you the peace of mind that you can trust your Who, but also peace of mind that you have planned reactions if results don’t turn out.
6. Top 7 questions to ask/info to give when delegating
- What outcomes are you looking for?
- Why is this task important?
- Where else can they go for resources, examples, or advice?
- Who else should be involved?
- How will you make sure you and your staff members are aligned on key points and next steps? – Written repeat-back (as needed)
- Rules of Engagement for this task: How long will it take to get this done, anything else they should know.
- Write my stream of consciousness/my thought process for this task
– Sonia Narvaez, Fractional COO
7. To help your team grow, give them space to struggle
- First, shift from a doer to a leader mindset.
- Second, embrace the discomfort of the learning process.
- Third, identify low-stakes tasks that are less risky to delegate.
- Finally, be curious and facilitative instead of prescriptive.
8. “Did you do it on purpose?”
When one of my team makes a mistake, I say ‘did you do it on purpose?’ They usually laugh, and I meant it to be funny. And I say ‘you’re only in trouble if you did it on purpose!’ What was your intention? And next time how do we make sure your action matches your intention?
Rhino Julie, CEO, Rhino Squad
9. I HAVE TO FREAKING CHILL
I have to freaking CHILL – SHEESH. Like seriously. I have not been chill my whole life. And I am now in a season of working hard on being chill. That’s a joke, because the whole point is that working hard on being chill is not being chill. But I think you get what I’m saying. As Michael Singer says, “we are on a planet spinning around in the middle of the universe, what do we really have to worry about?”
Rhino Julie, CEO, Rhino Squad
10. Delegate and abdicate are distinct when we think output vs outcome
The evolution delegation is abdication. When we “Let go of the Vine” (this is from Traction) we really need to let the whole thing go.
Example. We can delegate sales calls or we can abdicate the sales organization accountability.
This is not achieved when we hire a CRO. She might be a badass and all the things, but if the role is not fully let go of, then it is still on the mind of the founder when they are doing life’s daily things. Jogging, petting the cat (on their schedule, of course), walking the dog and so forth.
I will say that this is where the founder needs to get really, really honest in front of a mirror.
What do you WANT to let go of.
What a WEALTH of knowledge, amirite? My network really delivered on Top 10 Tips on Delegating.
I’m going to leave you with this for now.
Next blog post will share all MY thoughts on the above 🙂