Updated: Jul 17
Delegating tasks can be so difficult for some people. They act like a micro-manager who ensures that they see, do, and be everything. It’s hard for them to let others share the load or the glory. Maybe the control-freak is you.
You may have tried to delegate tasks in the past. Perhaps the quality of work wasn’t good enough to suit you so you ended up redoing everything. There’s no sense in delegating tasks in the first place if you know you’ll end up redoing them, right?
Here are three problems you might be using as excuses for not delegating:
• You feel you can do the job better yourself.
• There’s not enough time to train someone else to do the job.
• You feel like you have to redo someone else’s work.
If you’re facing these challenges, perhaps it’s time to look at some strategies you can use to find success in delegating.
Consider using these delegation techniques:
1. Face the truth. If you feel you can do the job better yourself, take time to think things through.
• Other people may not do the job the same way you would, but that doesn’t mean they won’t do an adequate job.
• The people on your team may be eager to do a great job and need only your encouragement, rather than for you to take over.
2. Train your staff. Perhaps those working with you do need some additional training. This shouldn’t be a reason to do everything yourself.
• Look at the need for additional training as a means to be better prepared in the future. Short-term training now can have a huge pay off later on. If you take the time to train your staff now, they’ll be better prepared for the next project.
3. Relax. There’s no sense in letting pressure for perfection bring you undue stress. While perfection would be great, it’s usually not expected.
• Give yourself a break. It’s just not possible for you to do everything yourself, nor should you want to.
• Other people can do the work even if you don’t think they’ll do as good a job as you.
4. Follow a successful plan. If you’re the head of the team and certain tasks are critical for the success of the project, you may want to do the major work on those. However, the more routine tasks could be passed along to other people on the team.
• Delegate the task itself, not the way in which it’s completed.
• Assign tasks based on strengths. Perhaps you could let one person do research, assign converting raw data into a spreadsheet to another person, and designate a good writer to write the rough drafts of the reports.
You can still be in control of the final report by pulling all the data together into a solid finished project.
• Require progress reports at specified deadlines over the course of the project. If they’re having problems meeting the deadlines, instead of assuming they’re not going to get the job done, ask them if there’s anything you can do to help them meet the next deadline.
• Expect that your team will do a great job and you won’t be disappointed. People usually rise to our expectations.
Finally, give praise and positive feedback when the project is finished.
Instead of being a control-freak, decide now to let go of some of the responsibilities. Look for ways you can use the talents of your co-workers in the future. You may find that working with a team and delegating tasks makes your job much easier and the atmosphere at work much better for everyone.
Martyn Dawes is a Coach, Social Care Consultant, and Author of The Overwhelmed Manager: What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do