POP QUIZ: Have you ever caught yourself saying …
“No one can do this the way I can, so I’ll do it myself.”
“If I can do it myself, I probably should.”
“This is too mundane a task to delegate.”
“I could complete this task in the time it would take me to explain and delegate.”
If you answered ‘yes’ to any of the above, then chances are you could benefit from learning a thing or two about effective delegation.
But first, let’s clear up some misconceptions about what delegation is – and isn’t.
Delegation is a means of managing projects and tasks at their inception. Delegation is not, however, a last-minute dump of responsibility onto someone else’s plate because you didn’t plan or prepare appropriately.
It’s more of a relay than a game of Hot Potato. See the difference?
Leaders Must Delegate to Grow
Do you – or any other person for that matter – have the knowledge, skill, energy, and time to handle all those tasks? How about handling them effectively? How about handling them effectively and having enough free time and resources left over to focus on growth?
Let me spare you the need for thinking too much. The answer is no.
No leader ever went it alone, and none ever will. Because if your business is to thrive, you must delegate.
Why Effective Delegation Matters – And How To Do It
As a Stanford business school professor said, ‘Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.’
Show us one solopreneur who doesn’t need a day or two off – and we’ll show you someone on the verge of burnout.
So here is a step-by-step escalation for effective delegation, from beginner to expert, and how to unlock each until you reach Delegation Level: BLACK-BELT MASTER. And BONUS! As you level up, so do your employees.
Stage 1: White Belt
This entry-level delegation calls for delegating to an employee to assess, collect, and report information regarding opportunities or issues. Communicate your expectations, clearly define the task, and discuss the deadline. Review the report and then decide on any additional actions with the employee.
Stage 2: Yellow Belt
With Stage 1 as the foundation, Stage 2 adds the additional responsibility of developing possible solutions and recommendations to the aforementioned opportunities or issues. Review the recommended solutions and then decide how to execute with the employee.
Stage 3: Green Belt
Green-belt delegation continues the cumulative approach of your delegation training, building on Stages 1 and 2, but adds the development of a specific action plan to execute the recommendations. Once a plan has been submitted, review it, approve it, and oversee its execution.
Stage 4: Red Belt
Get ready for some next-level ninja moves here. At this level, you hand over responsibility for decision-making to your employee if they’ve met or, better yet, exceeded your expectations in Stages 1-3. This is also when you should start thinking about how to use the free time you’ve earned by delegating.
Stage 5: Black Belt
Hopefully, you remember all your moves from Stages 1-4 because this final stage is a real test of your delegation mastery. Stage 5 is when – deep breath – you fully and completely delegate, turning tasks over to your employees once they exhibit consistently sound decision-making.
Wax on, wax off … then time off!
Sure, we glazed over a few steps that earned you your black-belt mastery, but the end result is the same: A business poised to grow and succeed with employees who are equipped to shoulder the responsibility just as you would – because you trained them to do just that.
Now, all you’ll need is to figure out what to do with all that free time …
Alexa, play ‘Leaving On A Jet Plane.’