The dreaded “D” word: delegation. Why is delegation so difficult? Why do so many of us have such an iron-fisted grip on our workload that we can’t imagine putting even a small piece of it on someone else’s plate?
Delegation is a very difficult thing to do. When you take pride in your work and you’re motivated to succeed, it can be terrifying to place any portion of that responsibility in the hands of someone else. I’ve found that we will come up with almost any excuse to avoid delegating, but these are the top three offenders.
1. We Feel Guilty
This is especially true if your work life lacks organization. Something lands in your inbox, you look at it quickly, and you think, “I’ll handle that later.” Time goes by and it slips your mind, and then, all of a sudden, you’re facing a deadline.
At this point, can you really pass this off to someone else? You know you should have done it weeks ago, and now handing it off means introducing urgency to someone else’s workday.
Maybe you realize that you shouldn’t have agreed to take it on in the first place. Or perhaps you just let it languish too long. Either way, it’s all yours now, whether you’ve got time to do it well or not. This guilt forces your hand and keeps you from properly distributing the work.
2. We Don’t Have Time
A common but very terrible excuse for not delegating is that you just don’t have enough time to train someone—the old standby of, “It will take me longer to teach someone else how to do it than if I just did it myself.” However, if you look at my blog on Income Producing Activities, you’ll notice that number three includes anything that saves you time. So teaching someone else to do things now is an IPA because in doing so, you’re saving yourself massive amounts of time in the future.
For every hour you spend training someone else, you earn that time back tenfold. You save yourself so much time in the future by not being the only person who holds the keys to that responsibility and the knowledge to execute it properly. Once someone else can help you with it, the process will go so much faster.
3. We’re Arrogant
Sorry guys, but it’s true. We often talk ourselves out of delegating a task because we think we can do it better, faster, or flashier than anyone else ever could.
We say, “I’m the best at this; no one will ever be as good as me.” And while that might be true to an extent, it’s not a reason to hoard tasks at the expense of your time.
What you should be doing is looking for every opportunity to accomplish tasks with less friction. By letting someone else do it, you’re earning time back for handling more important tasks.
And be honest with yourself—do you really do this task five times better than someone else could? What’s the real significant difference here? You might do it twice as well as someone, but not five times or ten times better. It’s time to let it go.
I know it can be challenging to hand off work to someone else. But you need to take a long hard look at your processes and identify your barriers to delegation and how you can tackle them. Get organized, share your knowledge, and let go of your ego, and delegation will become an irreplaceable—and immensely valuable—part of your toolkit.
Until next time—go sell some stuff!