Hard To Delegate? Here Is A Fix

Hard To Delegate? Here Is A Fix


I sucked at delegating and I would always end up doing everything myself. Inevitably, I would then reach a breaking point and collapse. After I have recovered, I would repeat the cycle again. So today, I want to share a fix that helped me suck less at delegating.

Before we dive into that ... Here are 3 random and fun things for you:

  1. Do you know who this is? It is Clarus the Dogcow and its story is adorable.
Clarus The Dogcow
  1. My first video game machine was the Nintendo Famicom. I used to be mesmerized by the printed game menus that came with every single game. Now they have been preserved digitally, forever.
  2. Twitter has some really strange hashtag trends. Here is one. NSFW, btw. #沈阳资源


Delegation is hard. Many leaders and founders struggle with it too. What makes delegation hard is we find it difficult to accept the quality of someone else's work. We can't understand why it would take them so long, when we can just get in done in 1/10th of the time.

At the same time, we also understand we are "supposed" to delegate, that there is better use of our precious time, and that there are things only we can do. Yet, when it comes the time to delegate, we fail to do so (again), and end up doing everything ourselves.

I would like offer a way of thinking about the difficulty of delegation. What's different about this framing is it comes with a few simple and actionable steps. The combination of a "reason" (the rationale) and the "action steps" that helped me inched forward, bit by bit, to better delegation:

The inability to delegate is a symptom of not having processes and goals, it isn't anything dramatic and it doesn't say anything fundamental about you and your ability as a boss.

The first step to overcome this mere symptom is to start small- pick 1 task that you want to delegate to someone else.

Next, break down that task into processes/steps and goals/outcome. This step doesn't have to be perfect. Don't expect the process and the outcome to be 100% accurate. Just try you best to spell that task out in steps and outcomes.

Beware of perfectionism. The goal here is to start and take a baby step towards delegating.

Next, tell the team member whom you are delegating to that it is about evolving the processes and the goals together, and is not just about having them complete the task. Be sure to set up weekly or any periodic review of processes and goals, in addition to the results. Constant iteration with your team is the KEY to making delegation work. It will force you to look at delegation as a work in progress, as opposed to a "set it and forget it" type of leadership skill.

Once you get a hang of working through the first task, or say, after you spend a month on tinkering with this first task, you may then repeat this process with another task.

These steps may not be perfect, but I have found them to be very actionable and adjustable. It allowed me to experiment with delegation in a more confined and precise way. Ultimately, these steps made delegation feel less risky and retained my sense of control of the quality of the task.

Give it a try, and let me know what you think.


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Thank you for reading this. I think about leadership & psychology in the showers. I know it's odd, but these topics are important and fun. I hope you find them useful too.

Work diligently. You are bound to be successful.