How good are you at delegating business tasks? Do you recognize when you need assistance? Instead of wading through project after project, day after day, successful trainers realize it’s in their best interest to seek out individuals or companies that can help them accomplish certain tasks or business goals.
Recognize the Need for Help
To improve your skills at recognizing the need for help, consider your current workload and responsibilities and identify areas or projects that cause you to feel stressed. If you hear yourself saying, “But I don’t really feel stressed,” look to your body to see if that is an honest assessment. Common physical signs of unhealthy stress levels include headaches, muscle/joint pains, mouth ulcers, stomach or bowel problems, muscle tics, and skin problems like pimples/acne breakouts, eczema, psoriasis, hives or rashes.
Common psychological responses to stress include trouble sleeping, irritability, tearfulness, angry outbursts, trouble remembering things, panic attacks, increased alcohol/drug consumption, overeating and loss of sex drive. If you regularly experience any of these things without a valid reason (such as a serious illness or death of a loved one), it is likely you have high levels of stress. That is an indication that you need help, and it is time to start delegating!
Determine What to Delegate
People find it difficult to delegate because, in essence, delegating requires relinquishing a certain amount of perceived control over business operations. In actuality, delegating is simply giving other qualified people the authority to make decisions and the responsibility to see tasks through to their completion more effectively and efficiently than if you had tried to do everything yourself.
To help you determine what tasks to delegate, make a list of all the projects you are working on or for which you are responsible. Then go line by line through the list and choose things you will ask others to help you accomplish. For example, if you are currently assuming responsibility for creating or updating your marketing materials and you have no relevant background in graphic design, then place that task in the delegation pile.
The key to ensuring that collaboration with others results in increased productivity and less stress for you is to be strategic when it comes to delegating. Here are some tips to ensure that your delegation efforts are successful and contribute to the ongoing development of your business:
- Generate a Description of the Task to Be Assigned. Others cannot be expected to provide quality assistance if you do not have a clear idea of what the task(s) involves. Be sure you know.
- Create a Plan for the Desired Outcome. Before you ask for help, outline the steps involved in the assignment and the timeframe in which each should accomplished.
- Ask the Right Person for Help. Just because a person offers or is available to help doesn’t mean that he or she has the skills to do so. Seek assistance from people with qualifications that match the particular task.
- Clearly Communicate the Results You Desire. Be specific about the outcomes you want and expect. Make sure that people who are helping know exactly what is needed and when.
- Hold People Accountable. If someone working on a project for you falls behind, don’t just give up and take the reins again. Review your timelines and expectations with the person to get the project back on track, or assign the task to someone more suitable.
- Follow Through and Check In Regularly. Part of delegating is establishing and maintaining direct lines of communication with those assisting you. Be sure you communicate clearly and as often as necessary.
Learning to delegate successfully is an important aspect of your development as a businessperson. It reduces your workload, gives others the opportunity to develop their skills and is absolutely necessary for continued business success.
More delegating tips are available in the complete article, “Learn to Delegate,” in the online IDEA Library or in June 2010 IDEA Trainer Success.