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Need to Delegate but Struggling to Let Go?

July 25, 2017 by Susan Drumm

Need to Delegate but Struggling to Let Go?

Delegation is one of the most challenging bridges to cross on your entrepreneurial journey.

But if you want your business to grow, there’s just no getting around it! Just ask legendary entrepreneur Richard Branson. “Most entrepreneurs are driven personalities, but you can’t overcome challenges and bring new ideas to the market through the sheer force of personality alone,” Branson said. “You need to learn to delegate so that you can focus on the big picture.”

While there’s no shortage of evidence making the case for why you should delegate, the facts and figures just don’t speak to the mental roadblocks that often prevent entrepreneurs from taking action to delegate.

Working with many leaders over the years, I’ve noticed patterns of thinking that prevent them from taking the leap to delegate. Here are some of the most common barriers and suggestions for how to correct the thinking:

 

1. Roadblock: “I’m the only person who can do this,”

1. Shift: “I have faith that the right person could do this.”

 

If you’re a company founder or an entrepreneur, you’ve probably carried certain duties for
years. It can be terrifying to think that your work could be outsourced — you know how it’s done, but with someone new taking over, how can you possibly ensure a consistent standard of work or know that the task will be completed in line with your expectations?

One of the first things to remember is that just because you’re delegating something, it is not the same as acknowledging that you’re bad at it. You’re not giving over something because the way you did it wasn’t great, you’re delegating a task to create efficiency. Sure, you’re great at making your own travel arrangements, assembling your own presentations, and onboarding new clients. But is that your true zone of genius? Nope. Can someone else make hotel and flight reservations? Absolutely.

 

2. Roadblock: “It’s faster if I do it myself,”

2. Shift: “I know I can teach someone to do this.”

 

When you first hand over a task, is it a bit painful to watch an employee labor over something that you could do in 30 seconds? You bet!

But it’s worth the initial time investment. When we make the effort to teach delegates, we’re making an investment in ourselves and our company. When you create style guides or tutorials for your team, you’re making things easier for the long term. Weathering the early frustrations of handing over a task will pay dividends in the months and years to come by reducing the number of fewer back-and-forth emails and ensuring faster, higher quality results. Bottom line: a little short term pain will be totally worth the long-term gain.

 

3. Roadblock: “My delegate has to do this exactly the same way I do it and exactly as well.”

3. Shift: “Different isn’t wrong and done is better than perfect.”

 

It’s tough when you get a project back and it’s fine, but not great. Here’s where the 70 percent rule comes in. This is well explained in this fantastic Inc. article:

Put simply, if the person the CEO would like to perform the task is able to do it at least 70 percent as well as he can, he should delegate it. Is it frustrating that the task won’t be done with the same degree of perfection or perceived perfection that the CEO himself could achieve? Sure! But let go of perfection. Is it easier said than done? Yes, certainly. But there is no place for perfection when it comes to delegation. The upside for the CEO is that he doesn’t need to spend any time on the task–zero. The “return on time” doesn’t spend on that task is infinite, in addition to gaining that same time to invest in a higher impact project.

Want to learn more about being a better delegator? Download for free: The Ultimate Guide To Delegation, which includes specific details on when you should delegate, who you should delegate to and much more. This guide includes a convenient chart with the kinds of helpers you will need, what tasks can be outsourced to them and an estimated cost range.  And best of all:  it’s FREE!

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