“That’s okay, I’ll just do it myself.” I have uttered those words many times in my life and regretted it because I put too much on my plate, or because I offended the person I said it to.
It may seem quicker and easier to do work yourself because it takes time to ask someone for help, explain what you need, and hand off the responsibility to others. The problem is, over time, that way of thinking negatively impacts productivity and growth.
Recently, I was talking with a sales manager who said, “By the time I explain how to do this, I could just do it myself.” That may be true, but I told him to think about how that impacts the development of his direct reports. People will not grow if you do not give them responsibility in an area of strength. If they’re not using their talents, they are not growing. It’s not just about getting the work done, it’s how you grow and develop people.
It’s not enough to just delegate work to people. You have to delegate strategically. Delegation is a talent that we measure in the Profit Center Manger Interview, and it’s one of the talents that separate the best from the rest in management. The very best managers match talent to task when delegating responsibilities and they allow people to own their work.
Here are a few tips for delegating strategically:
- Look over your checklist each week and force yourself to take the bottom 3-5 things on your list and hand them off to the right people.
- Don’t give work to the person who is available. Instead, assign work to the person who has the talent for the task. The first person you see may not always be the best person for the job. Spend time thinking about the strengths of each person you manage, write down everyone’s top two or three strengths. Keep that list nearby, and when you are assigning accounts, projects, and tasks give the work to the people who are best suited for the job.Every week, make sure every person has something at the top of their priority list based on their talents.
- Get out of the office, and coach people more. When you try and do all of the work yourself, you may spend too much time behind your desk, and not enough time in the field coaching your people. Make time for this, and commit to a certain amount of time in the field each week. You will realize that things actually get done in the office, even when you are not there.
Delegating can be a challenge, but when you commit to the time it takes initially to hand off tasks, you'll find that it saves infinitely more time in the long run. Plus, you'll develop a stronger team as a result.