Delegation is the key to a balanced schedule. Most of us have simply taken on too many responsibilities, and need to delegate in order to be successful. But how can we delegate effectively? I hear over and over again about incompetent husbands, boundary-challenging kids, and unreasonable bosses. Here are 4 keys for successful delegation!
Delegating only succeeds when you are willing
and able to completely let go of the delegated task.
We’re all guilty of a little “backseat driving” when it comes to delegation. The husband starts loading the dishwasher and we come behind him and reload it. The employee writes a report and we rewrite it under the pretense of “editing.” Unfortunately, this communicates a lack of confidence in the person’s ability. Eventually this can demoralize the person to the point that s/he won’t agree to do any task you delegate. For every wife I’ve heard complain about a lazy husband, I’ve heard a frustrated husband complain about criticism of any task he attempts.
Teaching is good; Criticism is bad.
If the task being delegated is new, you should provide some teaching. To keep it light, I always preface my teaching with the question: “Do you want to know what I find works best?” If the answer is no, I assume competence and walk away. Generally, though the answer is yes. This is the time to offer suggestions and hints. It is also the time to bluntly state your expectations. IE, whether you want the dishwasher run every night or only when it’s full.
Once you’ve done the teaching, just walk away. Allow the person to learn from her own experiences. Don’t come back a week later and “teach” again. That’s just going to sound like criticism.
Focus on the ends, not the means.
Too often, I see people who are focused on the way something is done. I get it, I’m a mom too. I’ve seen my daughter dressed in outfits I wouldn’t have chosen, ever. I’ve seen every single pot in the house used to cook a simple meal. But I choose to focus on the ends. My daughter is happily wearing clean daytime clothing. I am eating a meal I didn’t have to cook. If you truly think that the means matter more than the end, then that task may not be one you should be delegating. Which leads me to my fourth tip.
If you delegate tasks that you dislike, it’s much easier to follow the steps above. I hate cleaning, so I have no desire to teach, criticize, or worry about how it gets done. If I have a clean house and I didn’t have to clean it, I’m happy. If you are really good at something, or really enjoy doing it, then delegate something else.