Changing Your Mindset on Delegation Can Change Your Life!
Updated: Apr 28, 2019
What do first time managers and small business owners have in common? Their number 1 stumbling block. They don’t have any idea how to empower their team or how to use them to their fullest.
A simple mindset shift can change your life as a leader.
Being in your first leadership role can be so exciting but now all eyes are on you to deliver the project on time and under budget. After a few months of 60+ weeks you’re running on fumes and well the project is only a ¼ of the way done. So what are you supposed to do? Change your mindset and Delegate!
You don't have to go it alone. You have a team to extend your load to. Even small business owner's on a tight budget can hire virtual assistants or farm tasks out on sites like Fivrr and TaskRabbit.
Delegation: act of entrusting a task or responsibility to another person.
Most people start delegating because there is not enough time in the week to accomplish all that needs to be done. This is a mindset of necessity, where delegation is a means to the end.
When operating in this mindset, most view delegation like this:
I have project with many tasks
I give a task to a team member I think can get it done
Team member accomplishes task
I review/accept/return for re-work
This process is very manageable and it’s a nice cycle - a nice process, but it takes up a good portion of your time since you’re in the loop at the start and end.
The Catch 22
You've delegated your tasks and cleared your ToDo list. But that doesn't mean your schedule has freed up. Your team now needs management so your first encounter with delegation can be anything but simple if you try to delegate without followup.
Up to this point, you have been the "doer" and now you are in a new situation where you have to change your mindset from a “doer” to a “leader".
Many first time leader’s horde the work, or worse, micromanage the work that you just delegated.
As a first time leader of a team you want everything to be perfect, because you are accountable. Coming from the “doers” mindset means you are the only one who can achieve what needs to happen in order for the project to come in on time.
Being fearful of the unknown comes with being a leader and it is very unnerving and scary when you let someone else participate and work on the project. If they fail the whole project could fall apart and you may have to redo the work. Welcome to the emotional rollercoaster of leadership. Don't freak out! Let's shift it.
Perfection Vs. Progress
One trap of delegation is expecting perfection. You either micromanage (derailing the independence & confidence of your team member) or you wind up overworking yourself as you redo the task to your standard of perfection.
If the solution truly does require perfection, you can use the first drafts as an opportunity to correct. This helps your team member excel.
A Mindset of Service
Let’s approach delegation from a different mindset; one of service.
Delegating isn’t about you. It’s about your TEAM, and it’s about the end result of the project.
When you delegate with a mindset of service, you delegate from a perspective of how can I better leverage my team member’s skills while also meeting my bosses/client's expectations. You delegate tasks to folks that have the skills or want an opportunity to grow their skills.
Communicate Your Expectations
"Here, do this" isn't quite enough information. Be sure to communicate your expectations so that you ensure your team member's success:
When is the task due?
What's the scope of the task? What is too little or too much?
What quality do you want? Draft or final? Rough estimate or final estimate?
When you are coming with the mindset of service you want your team members to succeed. Communicating this level of detail when you hand off a task is key.
Mid-Task Check Ins
Don't wait until the task due date, schedule a few checkins so that you can compare the progress of the task against the expectations you defined and suggest coarse corrections.
I'm not suggesting you micro-manage. I am suggesting you review and give feedback that corresponds to the expectations you set. Communicating your expectations is the key to helping you avoid micro-managing.
Once you figure out that delegation isn’t about you, but about the career growth of your team, you may be pleasantly surprised to see your team step up, exceed your expectations and thrive.
Delegating from the mindset of service is a mark of a successful leader. Try it and see what success you can generate from this simple shift in mindset.
If you would like to learn more about changing your mindset on delegation please contact Linda Eskridge .