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April 27, 2017

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From Control Freak to Dynamic Delegator

by Heidi Richards



“Delegating to other people - appropriately delegating – is not only liberating, it frees up your time to be more creative.” Heidi Richards


I admit it. I’m a control freak… at least I use to be. I use to have to do EVERYTHING. It never occurred to me that anyone could do things as well as I could, or at least not up to my standards. It took me a long time to realize the advantages and efficiency of delegating tasks. Doing hose things I was either not really good at or took too long to complete left me with less time for the tasks I love to do or that I am better at accomplishing.

Take accounting for instance. I don’t like to input data. And because I don’t like to do it, the task either takes me a long time to accomplish or I avoid the job altogether. However, my office manager is really good at it and she likes to enter data. Go figure!

To delegate means "to appoint authority, to designate, to pass on or entrust.” Effective delegation helps those you entrust with the job to learn new skills and grow in the process.

Here are some tips to help you in the process of successful delegation.

  1. Let go. Letting go of certain tasks, however isn’t always easy to do. Once you are willing to let go, you will begin to discover the felling of freedom and enjoy what you were really meant to do.

  2. Define the limits of authority that go along with the job. It is important to let those you entrust know the scope of their authority. Do they have final say in the outcome, do they see the job through to the end, do they only do a portion of the task and then report to you (or someone else) as certain milestones are completed?

  3. Be specific. Outline the exact task or project you want accomplished.

  4. Establish realistic deadlines – in fact allow the assignee to share in setting those deadlines with the outcome and priorities clearly outlined.

  5. Define the outcome of the task – satisfactory completion –necessary to see the job through. Let the assignee help you in determining the best way to achieve the desired outcome. When you are successful at delegating you won’t have to go back and “do it yourself.”

  6. Make sure the person you are delegating to understands, and is capable of doing the job. Never underestimate a person’s potential, they may be ready and able, and have yet to be given and opportunity to prove themselves. Expect them to succeed give them the opportunity to “prove” themselves.

  7. If you do not feel comfortable delegating an entire project, begin with smaller tasks – break the project down into segments and as one segment is completed, assign another. Match the assignment with the person’s skills. When you do this, you help them to succeed. Make the most of their own talent’s.

  8. Be careful not to stick people with the same jobs ALL THE TIME just because they are good at it. They too may soon loose interest and then they become less effective. Besides, in order to be a Dynamic Delegator – you must give people opportunities to do things slightly outside their comfort zone once in a while so they can stretch and grow as well.

  9. Check progress – build in progress measurements and then monitor those measurements. You are ultimately still responsible for the success of a task or project, so it’s important to check progress – discuss and build in the progress checks and deadlines at the beginning of the assignment. Proper monitoring will allow room to make adjustments as necessary without doing it all yourself.

  10. Establish and define any limits of authority that go with the task. Does the assignee have authority to spend money, hire others, etc?

  11. Stay in touch – follow progress and be ready for any questions the assignee has. But don’t micromanage. Let the assignee do her/his job.

  12. Provide feedback. Tell the assignee how he/she is doing. When she or he is doing a great job, tell them. Encourage him/her to take risks. Mistakes can be a chance to learn and improve – that’s why it’s called risk-taking.

  13. Take time to reflect. Assessing the outcome of the task is similar to debriefing in that it puts closure on the task. You can discuss what worked, what didn’t and how the task could be done differently in the future.

Learning the art of delegation has been a liberating experience for me. I now have time to focus on the things I enjoy doing, and that I do better and perhaps the biggest benefit is that my own productivity level has gone up considerably. Most importantly, I enjoy my “job” more – How about you?

© 2006 - Heidi Richards - Used with permission


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About the Author: Heidi Richards is the author of The PMS Principles, Powerful Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Business and 7 other books. She is also the Founder & CEO of the Women’s ECommerce Association, International www.WECAI.org (pronounced wee-k?) – an Internet organization that “Helps Women Do Business on and off the WEB.” Ms. Richards can be reached at Heidi@speakingwithspirit.com or heidi@wecai.org.




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