Why Delegating is So Hard and So Necessary

If you are a business owner, chances are, you have done everything by yourself for many years. However, it gets to the point when you become so preoccupied doing everything yourself, that you lose sight of how to achieve or plan for even greater goals because you’ve simply run out of capacity.

Further, your daily tasks take you away from your unique talents, areas of work which you naturally excel at and are passionate about. These areas are typically the ones that you used at the beginning of your career. If you can get back to what you are most passionate about then you will naturally tap into the area of your vision that will financially grow your business.

When I delegate, nothing gets done right. Why is that?
Prepare to delegate. This should be taken seriously and not as an afterthought.

  • If you don’t take the time to explain the task and think it’s easier to just do it yourself, then you will always have too much work on your plate. Take the time upfront to explain what needs to get done and in the end you will free your time up. Research shows that employees become disengaged and unmotivated when managers don’t delegate effectively.
  • Understand that employees will make mistakes.
  • If you are a perfectionist. Be aware that you need to manage yourself first. It is rare that another person will do a task exactly the same way as you, but focus on the outcome and not always the process.

Does it take more time to delegate than to do it myself?
If you delegate and the work is not done correctly, ask yourself what kind of communicator you are. A great delegator has to be a great communicator and you need to know what to delegate.

  • Delegate the tasks you have to do all the time. If you understand them well and know what the outcome is, then it will be easy to communicate that to your employee.
  • Delegate a less-than-essential task that requires skills you don’t currently have. Learning new skills takes time, if your employee has the right skills to complete a task, then hand it over for them to do.
  • Delegate tasks that don’t have immediate deadlines. Researching materials for blogs, newsletters, interesting report that pertains to your business are all good examples.
  • Delegate a task to an employee who has shown a particular interest in it. If you have an employee that has a degree in a certain area or an expertise from past work experience, then give them an opportunity to show you their stuff (as long as it pertains to your business).
  • Delegate a task to an employee who needs to develop a skill in that area. If you have an employee who has lots of potential and want to grow in his/her career but is weak in an area, then delegate tasks that could help them to develop a new skill that will benefit them. (i.e. running a meeting, calling on customers, etc)

What is a delegation agenda and how will it help my business?
A weekly meeting on the same day each week where you go over the prior week’s delegation tasks and you get and give feedback from your employee. Use a delegation worksheet (below) and create a binder to put it in, so you can track weekly progress.

  • Write an agenda of all the tasks you want accomplished.
  • Set deadlines that you both agree upon for accomplishing tasks.
  • Explain what you want done, how you want it done and when you want it done.
  • If they need authority, give it to them and let the other employees know that he/she is responsible for the project and needs their cooperation.
  • If they need a budget to do a task, give them spending authority and all the other tools they may need to finish the job.

How do I get honest feedback from my employee(s) that they understand and can do what I am asking of them?
Weekly meetings, these meetings provide the time for your employee to work with you one-on-one to get questions answered and to receive positive feedback as to what is going well and what needs to be improved upon.

Delegation is about improving your work/life balance and developing employees. This is truly a win/win situation if done right.

Early in my career, I managed millions of dollars of business and hundreds of people. I was very good at my job and was promoted often. Unfortunately most of the managers that I worked for were poor leaders but wonderful people. I would describe them as temperamental, moody, threatening and demanding. Fortunately or unfortunately these bosses also owned the companies.

The reason I bring this up is because as a young leader I felt privileged to be in the position I was in. I managed a $26 million dollar budget when I was 28 and was responsible for creating and marketing new products internationally.  With all that responsibility, I still felt like I had no voice in the organization, and when the  pressure was on I suffered from serious stress related problems like migraines and stomach upset because I was constantly walking on eggshells waiting for the next full blown tantrum.

One of the biggest lessons I learned when I was starting my leadership journey and I continue to apply to my current coaching practice is listening skills. (more…)

Traditionally, money has been a huge motivator in the business world. Now enter Gen-Y, and money is just not enough to keep them at the same job, productive and motivated.

The question then becomes, what can a business do to keep their Gen-Y Employees motivated?

Members of this generation are generally borne between 1982 and 2004.  They are well educated, accustomed to communicating electronically, motivated by a sense of purpose and don’t separate work/life and social/life.  They see their lives holistically.

Wikipedia identified Millennials as sometimes called the “Trophy Generation”, or “Trophy Kids,” a term that reflects the trend in competitive sports, as well as many other aspects of life, where mere participation is frequently enough for a reward.

This reward for participation is a huge clue for companies in terms of understanding how to engage this generation of employees. Studies predict that Generation Y will switch jobs frequently if they are not satisfied or feel like they are not progressing in their jobs.

It has been made clear that Gen Y views work like a continuation of their education and are motivated by learning, feedback and coaching. One positive approach that managers can make is to give feedback frequently and outline clear identifiable goals that will motivate their employees to continue learning and growing.

This approach might be awkward for Boomers and Generation Xers, but identifying what works with the millennial generation will ultimately lead to lower turnover and a more productive workforce.

If you’re a Gen Xer or Baby Boomer, it’s time to understand Generation Y. There are 75 million Generation Y -employees in the workforce.  60 million Baby Boomers are going to exit the work force in the next 3 years and Gen X includes about 40 million.  Gen Y is a huge up and coming generation that not only has a loud voice but really sees the world and specifically their work/life differently.

To better understand GEN Y, we need to start at the beginning.  From childhood, GEN Y grew up in sports programs where everybody got a trophy and was always successful. The parents of the GEN Y kids always provided them with positive feedback and coaching such as saying “great job!”, “you can be anything you want”….They also grew up with technology at their fingertips, TV, Video Games, IPods, Nintendo, Texting and on and on.

As a result of this type of growing environment, GEN Y appears to be entitled, especially if you are looking at them from the eyes of a GEN Xer, but the benefit of their upbringing makes them very coachable and quick to learn.

In the workplace, GEN Y is constantly looking for feedback and learning.  As a manager, if you can provide your GEN Y employees with Leadership Training and Motivating Projects then you will get the most out of this group.

5 Tips to help bridge the management gap for GEN Y:

1)      Train Boomers on how to communicate with GEN Y Electronically:  Most GEN -Yers respond immediately to text messages whereas Boomer prefers face to face interaction and phone calls.

2)      Leadership and mentoring: GEN -Y is hungry for knowledge and are seeking leaders to follow who will give them advice and mentoring on how to improve their skill sets and move forward in their careers.

3)      Make the work meaningful, GEN- Y is very passionate about making a difference in the world.

4)      Stay current without being phony.  Understand the new technologies that GEN- Y uses not only computer technology, but also with what’s going on in your industry. Stay active, and hang out with people as much as you can who are in their 20s and 30s so you as a manager are relevant.

5)      Gen Y moves 50% faster on projects then Boomers: The Baby Boomer workforce is perceived as rigid, closed-minded, overbearing whereas GEN Y is perceived as entitled, lazy, self-absorbed however, because GEN-Y is so quick and knows how to find shortcuts they appear to be not working as hard as the boomers, but often they just know how to get to job done faster.

The fundamental difference in these generations is that Gen Y doesn’t see a distinction between work life and personal life.  Gen Y sees it as all one big life.  They see personal first and work second.  As a manager if you can learn to speak their language and start your coaching and conversations from this perspective you will find a much more receptive audience.  Finally understand that GEN Y gets bored very quickly, so consider how to make their work and additional projects meaningful, creative and interesting and you will have engaged employees.

From Thomas Edison: “I have not failed; I’ve just found ten thousand ways that won’t work.”

From Michael Jordan: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed.”

From Winston Churchill: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”

From Abraham Lincoln: “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.

Failure is not easy to swallow.  Let’s face it, it feels bad, you get down on yourself, kick yourself around a bit and then what? For most ambitious people, then dust them off and go back at it again.  As a society, we do everything in our power not to fail.

The other day I was about to pick a potato out of my garden for the first time and I was so concerned about picking it wrong that I turned on my computer, Googled “Picking Potatoes” and then watched a YOUTUBE video made by a potato farmer. I did this so that I wouldn’t     “do it wrong”.

The fact is, that no one is exempt from making mistakes or feeling like a failure.  If we only look at our failures in a negative light then we are sending a powerful message to our brain and we might not recover from that negativity.

But, if we can rephrase our inner voice to say, “How will this failure lead to my future success?” or train our management teams to say to their employees, “We are going to judge your success based on your failure.” Then we are setting ourselves and others up for SUCCESS.


Stephanie Wachman, Executive Coach, www.stephaniewachman.com, 720-232-3693

© Life In Balance LLC

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