Have you ever been told you need to learn to delegate? When you’re tearing your hair out with how much work you have to do, you know the kind of days where you don’t even have time to stop to eat lunch? And your line manager tells you that it’s essential to your career progress to learn to delegate more effectively?
I’ve certainly been there. I’ve also had it on the tip of my tongue to give this advice to other people. Pffft! If it were that simple, you’d have done it already! ;-)
- Delegating is not easy.
- Delegating well is actually really hard.
- Figuring out how to delegate when stressed and have no time to stop and breathe is terrifying.
Luckily, like any other skill it is something you get better at with practice. Also like any habit you want to form, you can start with something really small until it becomes a normal part of your routine and build on it. Finally, there is no reason you should be a pro the first time you try doing it. Try this:
What is on your to do list that you’ve not made any progress on, despite it being important? Yep, that one – the one you keep saying you need to get your head around before you delegate it. THAT one.
Take a member of your team you know is capable and who you know you can trust to listen. Set a meeting to talk to them about this thing, tell them you need to pick their brains – it will (justly!) flatter them and pique their interest. Especially if you don’t usually ask for help.
Just talk about it for 20 minutes or so, let them ask you questions, get it out of your head and onto the table.
Try it and see what happens. This won’t change the world over night. It will help you shift your thinking so you create space to delegate.
You’ll also create space for your staff to grow, learn how to support you and feel a sense of achievement by taking on more responsibility.
If you want more detail on what happens next, I’ll publish that in another blog post in a few days. This one is long enough already. For now – focus on letting go of the idea that you HAVE to be the one with the fully formed, water-tight plan.