delegation: all you need to know
December 13, 2019

Team Management

Delegation: for those who works on a Friday evening

By Alexander Sergeev

HELLO!

This mailing specifically

comes at the worst possible time –

Friday evening

Any internet marketing genius will tell you: “What?! People won’t read your mailing! It’s Friday evening! Everyone has gone home!”. That’s exactly what I need. This mailing is addressed to those who haven’t gone home on a Friday evening and is still working. And it’s especially important for the leaders – those who leave office later than their subordinates. Ladies and gentlemen, something is wrong with our lives. We work too much. One of the reasons is that we are too responsible to finish work on a Friday evening and go home. We can’t leave it unfinished, the result is important to us. This is our strength. Another reason is that we do too much ourselves, not charging everyone. This is our weakness. Let’s deal with it.

What to delegate

You have a mountain of work. This mountain can be divided into four unequal hills:

  1. The work that only you can do. We can’t delegate it.
  2. The work that you can do much better than the others. To delegated it, first you need to train people to do it at least 80% as well as you do.
  3. The work that anyone can do. Delegate it without hesitation.
  4. The work that others have to do, not you. Delegate it immediately.

People who work on a Friday evening (and on Saturday and Sunday), see these hills as follows:

 

We treat these hills tasks as climbers. We test our will and climb. And why not to build a control center on the top of it and command other climbers. Our task is to leave in the first hill only the work that really should be there. Everything else we should delegate to the others.

Delegation is not an easy task

The first challenge is to properly shift the cases from the first hill to the second and the third ones. It is not easy for several reasons:

  • You can do some tasks much better than your subordinates can. Sometimes you find it easier to quickly do it yourself than to instruct someone and to redo this work later.
  • You like to do some work. For example, you like to program sites in WordPress, it’s a kind of hobby for you. So, you don’t hire an employee to do this task, because you like to do it yourself.
  • If you are a head of the department or an entrepreneur there are some cases when none of your employees can handle with particular work. For example, you have a sales department and a grocery department, but none of them is able to accept returns. You have only two returns in a month, and hire an employee to do this job is not reasonable. So, the leader “temporarily” handle with the returns. And as we know, there is nothing more permanent than temporary.

The second difficulty is that delegation is not an instant solution. This is a big task, occupation, even work. You can’t just decide that from that moment Alex from the sales department deals with complaints. To delegate properly is to:

  1. Find time to train a new person
  2. Find time and introduce a system of control over how he will cope with this
  3. Figure out what to do if he fails to perform the task. And it should not be “Redo it myself”.

It takes time to start to delegate. To have some time available, you should start delegate. It seems like a vicious circle. But this cat proves that it can be opened:

The third difficulty is that delegation is similar to losing weight, it never comes at the time when it is vital for you. To start delegating a willful decision is needed, which often contradicts the short-term needs.

Delegation is similar to losing weight

This is the most interesting point. So, you are at work on a Friday evening. Will you handle with your urgent tasks? Of course, you will. Will it destroy your family or relationships with friends? Not today. Will it kill your health? One evening won’t kill. All the negative effects of the constant work overload are long-term, you won’t see them at the moment. And all the positive consequences are short and pleasant: today you will go home satisfied with the work done and a feeling that you’re a hero. The same is with the diet. You won’t gain weight on this particular slice of pizza. But if you eat it, you will be able to work for the rest of the evening without feeling hunger. Short-term benefits outweigh the long-term harm.

 

This imbalance causes bad habits – eating pizza in the evenings, smoking, drinking after work, do everything yourself. And harm brings not the very fact that you did it, the habit itself is harmful. The habit of doing everything on your own is no better than the habit of overeating at night. And it’s just as difficult to get rid of it. But you must get rid of it, because the long-term effects. Your wife will leave you, you’ll have a nervous breakdown, a colleague will become your boss. The truth of life is that it will happen. Now it seems that the delegation is a very difficult task. So let’s start with something simple.

Simple delegation

Remember the third hill of work? That is something that anyone can do: respond to your emails, receive calls, surf the internet, book tickets, book hotels, make transfers, look for gifts, organize parties. Big bosses delegate it to a secretary, but a secretary is expensive if you’re not a big boss. There are more budget options. Accountant. If you are an entrepreneur driving the primary accounting yourself, an outsourced accountant will help you. This magical person not only prepares your “primary records”, but also stands in line at the tax office instead of you. Transcriptionist. If you work on blogging or writing long letters, don’t hire a copywriter. Dictate your thoughts to the phone, submit transcripts to Transcript Office and get ready-made edited text. This secret use many entrepreneurs who speak fluently but write slowly. Online assistant. There are thousands of online assistant services, which provide any services that can be performed via telephone and the Internet. Each has its own specificity: someone organizes family affairs, another is able to deal with the social networks and prepare pictures for the site, the third can conduct market research and select articles on the Internet. There are even services with a function “send a courier” and “send a courier with flowers”. When working with such services, the question of quality and confidentiality raises. It is clear that your orders will be fulfilled by the underpaid students and not by professional concierges. But it doesn’t mean that they can’t handle some tasks. For example, to wash your cat:

Some services even offer to secure an assistant for you, to perform the tasks faster and more efficiently. It is a good offer – if I have a favorite assistant at some service who understands me perfectly, I won’t address to another service. This simple delegation: give smaller tasks to those who will solve them purposefully, efficiently and quickly. Yes, it costs money. But your time is likely to be more expensive.

Delegation of medium difficulty

Proceed to the second hill of work: what you can do much better than the others. It’s easier for you to do work yourself than to teach another person. This prevents delegation. To solve the problem, you need to figure out how to train others quickly. At this point the database will help. Here you collect all valuable data: templates, examples, stories, bug reports. Basically – templates. The secret is that the database is filled during the implementation of tasks. You’ve written a successful letter to a customer – save it to the database. You’ve written Technical Specification – save it to the database. You’re doing a quarterly report – launch the program “Record Screen” and made ​​a video about how you are doing it. Save to the database. You are accepting the work of builders – make a photo of a defect on your phone – send to the database. A report on the defect – into the database. Put everything in the database. The secret of an effective database is a convenient and easy way of putting documents in it and searching for them. The database can be saved in the secret mailbox. You just send the materials there, and then find the needed by a keyword. It’s convenient: you’ve written a successful letter – put your secret mailbox in a blind carbon copy – send. To collect a database is a good habit that will facilitate the delegation repeatedly and increase the quality of work:

  • Now you will respond to all complaints → Find the appropriate letter in the database and answer according to the template.
  • Now you will impose newsletter → First try to impose this one. Watch the video of how I do it, contact me un case of any questions.

But the database does not exempt you from having to properly assign tasks, train and motivate people, control their work and build a system of personal and professional growth.

People around you

Regarding your relations with subordinates, remember that they are not machines for performing tasks, but the real people who can become offended. Observe the rules of management hygiene:

  • Make sure that the person is willing to take on this challenge and understands its importance.
  • Describe the problem and put a task, but don’t impose on the employee a particular way of solving the problem. Allow him to choose how to solve it.
  • Negotiate the deadlines and control points. Check the work at control points, but not between them.
  • At the beginning make control points more frequently. The employee most likely hasn’t understood you incorrectly, but what exactly he has misunderstood, opens only during the work. Find it out as early as possible.
  • Explain to the employee that he is responsible for the results, not you. If he fails, you won’t finish it for him.
  • Adjust and criticize the work, but not demoralize the employee.
  • Thank the employee for the work done and the obligations accepted. The fact that you are paying him a salary does not exempt you from the necessity of being a good person.

Remarks on efforts

Delegation, management and business development is work. If you delegate properly, you spend less time working on your own, and more time controlling the others. After some time the work will require less control. But if by delegating you release even half of your working day, you still won’t go home. You’ll start a new project because it’s fun. Anyway, you’ll fill your working schedule with interesting and important things. And then the possibility of working on a Friday evening occurs again. But being at work on a Friday evening, because you have to, is one thing. And quite another thing is to be there because you want it. Stop extinguishing fires! You are waited at home!

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