How to Effectively Delegate: A Guide for Busy Founders

Picture this.

You're the founder of a flourishing coaching business.

Your days are packed with client meetings, content creation, and management tasks. The workload is overwhelming.

You start to delegate tasks to your team but you fear losing control.

Here's the catch!

A great leader knows that successful delegation is key to scaling any business.

By effectively delegating tasks, particularly low-value tasks that drain your energy, you reclaim time to focus on the things that matter.

This post will guide you on how to effectively delegate without feeling like you're abdicating your responsibilities or micromanaging your team's every move.

We'll explore ways to:

  • Extend influence through others.

  • Focus on big-picture tasks.

  • Prepare for delegation discussions.

  • Identify the right people to delegate to.

  • Delegate the right way.

And much more! Let's dive into how to effectively delegate.

The Benefits of Delegation Done Right

As a founder, mastering the art of delegation is like unlocking a secret superpower.

Rather than attempting to be omnipresent, it is best for an effective leader to leverage delegation.

The 2 key benefits of delegated work are:

You extend influence through others

Delegation isn't about dumping tasks on others.

It's about extending your influence and impact by delegating ownership of outcomes and results to others.

Especially by delegating to people who can do the tasks better than you or enjoy doing it more.

This leads to the second benefit.

You get to focus on Big-Picture Tasks

Delegating ownership of outcomes off your plate allows you to have more time and energy for big-picture activities like strategy, growth, and vision.

Your role as the business owner is to build a machine that can operate without you needing to be involved all the time.

This moves you from working IN your business to ON your business.

Preparing For Delegation Conversations

Delegation is like a dance, and every chat about delegated tasks is a step in that dance.

You don’t need to spend hours preparing for each discussion.

Just 15-20 minutes can make all the difference.

Great delegation starts with clear communication.

Understand the task at hand, anticipate potential questions or challenges your team might face, and prepare responses ahead of time.

Stay essential without being excessively involved.

Your role as a leader isn't to do everything but rather ensure everything gets done effectively and efficiently without you.

Tips for how to effectively delegate:

  • Set Clear Outcomes: Communicate clearly what needs to be achieved by when.

  • Define Done or Success: Paint clearly what done looks like or how success is measured.

  • Ask, don’t demand: Inviting people to accept ownership of the outcome creates a sense of safety and trust.

  • Maintain Open Communication: Encourage open dialogue where ideas can be freely exchanged.

How to Find the Right People to Delegate Tasks To

Knowing how to effectively delegate begins with identifying the right people to delegate to.

You want team members who are reliable, collaborative, and have authority in their area of expertise.

According to Forbes Coaches Council, these traits are crucial for successful delegation.

Step 1: Identify Reliable Team Members with Authority

Look for team members who have earned respect through consistent performance and demonstrated knowledge in their field.

Team members don't need to possess a senior role for their opinions and expertise to be valued.

Step 2: Allow Task Selection Based on Strengths

Let these individuals choose tasks based on their strengths and interests instead of assigning them randomly.

A Gallup report shows that employees who use their strengths every day are more engaged, productive, and less likely to quit their jobs.

Micromanagement vs Delegation: What's the Difference?

As a leader, it's essential to recognize the distinction between micromanaging and how to effectively delegate.

No one enjoys having their every move scrutinized.

Delegation done right can empower your team and free up your time for strategic planning.

The Downside of Micromanagement

Micromanaging involves scrutinizing every detail of a task, which can stifle creativity and innovation.

This approach often leads to frustration among team members who feel undervalued and overlooked.

The Art of Delegation

Delegating tasks is about striking a balance between control and autonomy.

You want results, but your team members need the freedom to deliver those results effectively.

An effective leader inspires their teams towards achieving shared goals and vision.

Abdication vs Delegation

A common misunderstanding is conflating delegation with abdication.

These are two distinct concepts, and understanding the difference is critical to successful leadership.

Abdication is to completely relinquish control over a task or responsibility without any follow-up or accountability.

It's like throwing a task over the fence and hoping for the best. For example, if you assign a task to a team member and then wash your hands of it entirely, providing no guidance, feedback, or support, you've abdicated that task.

While this might seem like a time-saver in the short term, it can lead to confusion, mistakes, and a lack of accountability.

Delegation is entrusting a task or responsibility to someone else while maintaining oversight.

It's about effectively communicating what needs to be done, setting clear expectations, providing the necessary resources, and then following up to ensure the task is completed correctly.

Why Delegate, Not Abdicate

When you delegate, you empower your team members, helping them to develop their skills and build confidence.

You ensure that delegated work is completed to your standards, as you're still involved in the process, albeit in an advisory role.

Abdication can lead to a lack of direction, confusion, and poor results.

It can result in team members feeling unsupported and unsure of their responsibilities.

This only creates more room for frustration, resentment, and a loss of trust.

Delegation Done Right: 10-80-10 Principle

Delegation isn't a one-size-fits-all process.

It requires a tailored approach, taking into consideration the nature of the task, the capabilities of the team member, and the specific project requirements.

One effective method to ensure balanced delegation is the 10-80-10 principle, a concept shared by John Maxwell.

This method suggests a division of time spent on different phases of delegating a task:

  1. 10% on Defining: Spend the initial 10% of your time clearly communicating the task, expectations, and desired outcome. It's also the time to provide them with all necessary resources or tools they need to execute the task effectively.

  2. 80% on Delegating: The delegated person carries out the task, while you, as the delegator, step back. Your role here is to be available for guidance and support and to resist the urge to micromanage.

  3. 10% on Refining: The final 10% of the time is spent on assessing the delegated work together. This involves reviewing the results, providing constructive feedback, and identifying any areas for improvement. It's also a good time for giving recognition.

Remember, the goal of delegation is not just to offload tasks, but to empower your team and ensure that work is done effectively and efficiently.

Overcoming Fear of Losing Control

Leaders often struggle with delegation due to a fear of losing control.

But effective delegation requires humility and acknowledging when someone else is better suited for certain tasks.

And remember the benefits of delegation:

  • You extend your influence and impact.

  • You reclaim time to focus on big-picture tasks.

  • You build trust with your team.

You can give your fear a voice but you don’t need to give it a vote on how you run your business.

Conclusion

There you have it, a guide on how to effectively delegate.

Delegation is a crucial skill for founders and effective leaders.

By extending influence through others and focusing on big-picture tasks, you can achieve more while doing less.

Preparing for conversations about delegated tasks, identifying the right people for delegation based on strengths and authority, distinguishing between abdication and delegation, providing adequate resources, and empowering with independence are all key factors in successful delegation.

Overcoming the fear of losing control by recognizing that letting go will increase efficiency while developing trust with your team.

With these strategies in mind, you can delegate effectively to ensure that your business thrives.

Thanks for reading, I hope you found this article helpful!

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Your Pal,

Colin