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Leadership & Executive Coaching

The fine art of delegation

Tuesday, 09th of June 2015

Learning effective delegation can be one of the biggest challenges for most people. It's hard to let go of control and trust that everything will work out the way you want it to. But even though it's a challenge, delegation is a necessary for us all.

Effective delegation isn't instantaneous: it's a progression that relies on trust, collaboration and respect. When you first begin to delegate, you may want to oversee the work being completed. That will ensure it's being done correctly, help your team members overcome challenges and respect their skills. Here's how to get started with delegating.

1) Decide you're going to delegate.
First, you need to admit you can't do everything you’d like to and stop trying to do more things.

2) Decide what you’re going to delegate.
Is there something in particular you need help with or something you don't like doing much? It could be a good candidate for delegation. Remember: you don't want to delegate the core of your business.

Bear in mind that what you delegate doesn't have to be a business task. Delegation is about doing less so you can achieve more and strike a better balance. So for example, if you run a small business or work for yourself, you may find hiring a cleaner at home frees up time to focus on your business.

3) Find the people to delegate to.
Saying you’re going to delegate something is fine, but you do need to find someone reliable you can trust to get it done and do it well. That can take a bit of a search.

4) Be as specific as possible about what you want done.
It's no good hiring someone, simply telling them you need help around the office, and then complaining because they haven't done what you wanted them to do. Or expecting an accountant to give you good advice when you haven't bothered to sit down with them to talk about where your business is now and where you'd like it to go.

You have to be very clear about what you need done and how you want it done for delegating to be successful.

5) Let the other person get on with it.
We smile when we hear about the business person who goes on holiday for a week and phones the office ten times a day, but we’ve all been there. When you delegate something you have to accept it's out of your hands and you need to avoid interfering with the process of getting it done.
As hard as it is, wait for the end product before you judge how successful it’s been.

6) Don’t delegate lots of tasks at once.
If it makes you uncomfortable, start by delegating one thing only. Your comfort level will build over time as you see the job you've assigned completed successfully. Then you'll be ready to delegate something else.

7) Don’t give up too quickly.
My relationship with my first accountant was not a success. He was competent, but I didn’t feel he was willing to give me enough of his attention.

Rather than throw up my hands and go back to doing my own accounting (or worse, put up with a relationship I wasn’t happy with), I found another accountant. I’m now much happier.
You won’t necessarily find the right person the first time but be persistent – it will be worth the effort.

As a small business owner I couldn’t manage without my virtual team. Like so many business people, it took me time to learn the art of delegation. But I stuck with it and as a result I have more time to focus on what I do best -coaching individuals and groups.

My virtual team
Lesley Vaughan - my very efficient virtual assistant - www.lesley-vaughan.co.uk
Elaine Swift my copywriter - the word witch with the magic wand  - www.elaineswift.co.uk
Rob Games my website designer -  www.padmedia.co.uk
And last, but by no means least, Catalina my fabulous cleaner who saves me hours of housework. 

Who would you choose for your team?

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