Well, do you? If not, why not? Here’s something that you might think about. You don’t delegate because you don’t trust your people.
Before you start saying, “that’s not me” ask yourself whether there might be just a little bit of truth there. After all, if you delegate and it gets screwed up it could cost you a customer or some real money.
Do you make mistakes?
I know that you don’t want your employees to make mistakes. I have a question for you. Do you make mistakes? I know you make mistakes….. what happens when they get made? I bet that when you’ve made mistakes you’ve learned something….that is if you’ve been in business for more than two years.
If you delegate and your people make mistakes, what do you think will happen with them? I bet there’s a good chance they’ll learn and grow. They might even be able to take some responsibility off your plate.
Do you want to grow?
I’m asking this question in two ways. Do you want to grow personally and do you want your business to grow? If you answer yes to either question you’re going to have to learn to delegate.
It’s important that you learn that delegation is not abdication. You don’t tell someone to take over and then ignore what they do. You want to coach and correct. If you can learn to do this by asking questions you’ll create a learning organization.
Asking is very powerful.
When you delegate and you find a mistake has been made I don’t want you to tell your employees what they did wrong. I want you to ask them what went wrong and why it was wrong. I want you to keep asking them questions till they figure out what they could have done differently.
Asking questions does take longer to correct a mistake. It’s also the only way I know that you can help your employees not make the same mistake over and over. It’s also one of the ways you’ll build trust in the abilities of your employees.
When you delegate you send a powerful message.
I find that delegation is really around building trust. This means you need to know what the components of trust are. In The Trusted Advisor there is a formula for building trust. The formula is (competency + reliability + intimacy) / self-interest.
When you’re having a hard time delegating there’s a good chance that one of the four items above is not as strong as it should be. If you focus on which area is out of whack, you can build trust and then delegation becomes possible.
Build a learning organization.
Mistakes are part of the game. You’re going to make mistakes and your employees are going to make mistakes. Start by working on yourself. Every time you make a mistake ask yourself the following question, “what did I learn?”
After you’ve gotten really good at this, start doing it with your employees. I can promise you that your employees don’t want to make mistakes. We’re taught that we’re all supposed to be perfect. If you think about that for about three seconds you’ll realize that’s just a dumb concept. We’re going to make mistakes. Help your employees accept it and learn.
Free yourself and spend a little time being strategic.
Most business owners I know would love to be strategic in their business. They just don’t have time to take strategic actions. It’s usually because they’re caught in the weeds. They “have” to do things that no one else would do.
Learn to trust, accept mistakes and delegate. You might even find you have some time for high value activities where the real fun and profit is.
Part of delegation is having good people to delegate to. That means you have to hire well. We have a case study on hiring for unique abilities. This case study will help you think about a process that will get you people you can trust and delegate to.