There is a fear in most of us that our hard work will come crashing down around us. I don’t know if it’s innate or something we’ve conjured up in the midst of our insecurities. All in all we are fearful of losing….big time.
This past year I’ve been on a journey of learning how to delegate responsibility. I’ve dealt with some tough stuff in me that has ultimately led to me delegating more to others than ever before. I still have such a long way to go, but I’m on the right track.
In order to talk freely about delegation and how to do it without destroying your work, you need to understand what delegation actually is.
The definition of delegate is:
to send or appoint (a person) as deputy or representative.
To delegate is to appoint a rep for you. Someone who can take your place. That has been life changing to me and is something that I’ve mulled over for awhile since I heard Brother Jim talk about it in length in his books and talks on volunteers. You must pour yourself into others in order for them to represent you well.
That being said, let’s talk about some ways you must delegate in order to keep your work intact.
1. Delegate responsibilities, not tasks.
When someone is responsible for something it’s different. It’s their baby and they want to love it, care for it and grow it. Make sure you aren’t just delegating a task. Do this _________. Instead, let people know that this area is there responsibility. Teach them how you would handle that responsibility.
Hold them accountable toward their responsibility. Help them dream about it, grow it, and begin to make it their own.
2. The more you hold on, the less you delegate.
As leaders, we think that we are good at a lot of things. We’re not. Part of the role as leader is to help people understand the part that they need to play. If you hold all the parts then others can’t play. The more you hold to something the less effective you will be at delegation.
3. Why is more important than what and how.
Why do we keep track of numbers? Why do we take information on first time guests? Why do we call when others are hurting?
The why is the most important thing that we can give to people. What and how are always negotiable as long as they can answer the why. Your delegates need to understand why you do the things that you do. Then they will be more willing to figure out what and how.
4. Delegation is a lifestyle and must be learned.
Here is a good exercise if you are terrible at delegation. Go find a mom with 3 or more kids and ask how she gets everything done. Ask her to teach you everything that she does. She manages more than most leaders do with her own family. Delegation is something that you will need to do over and over and over again if you are doing to master it.
What are your tips for delegation?