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Re-Frame the Story You’re Telling Yourself and Overcome Common Fears of Delegating!

Fears around delegating aren’t completely unfounded. 

As the weather starts heating up and the mid-year mark is quickly approaching, the time for taking some much needed rest is just around the corner.  In order to take that well-deserved vacation, your team needs to be up to the task of operating proficiently without your immediate guidance at hand.  More than likely, you need to prepare by delegating some work.  If the thought of leaving your team to their own devices for a week or two gives you anxiety, you may benefit from identifying some common fears about delegating so that you can re-frame the story you are telling yourself and give your team an opportunity to surprise you with their hidden capabilities.  Afterall, there is no better stamp of approval on your leadership performance than discovering your team has stepped up to the plate in your absence despite unforeseen challenges!  

So let’s explore what the most common themes are so that you can be proactive about the way you address them while empowering your team, and yourself as a leader, to stretch to new heights!

The process of delegating tasks responsibly does take time.

One of the biggest pros of delegating is that it frees up time to concentrate on bigger picture work that the leader needs to do apart from their team.  Everyone knows this in their heads.  But the default setting of successful people, which often means leaders, is that their plate is already extremely full.  The reality is, you probably got to the leadership position you’re in by being extremely good at a lot of tasks that you haven’t quite let go of yet.  And, it’s also probably likely that some of those tasks are things your team should be doing, not you. 

If the story you are telling yourself is, “I don’t have enough time to delegate,” then you know that’s exactly what you need to do because delegating is what is going to get you out of this time pressure trap you are in in the first place.  Invest some time now to skillfully delegate, and reap the time benefits in spades later to focus on vision and strategy in the near future.  The next time you catch yourself muttering to yourself that you should delegate, but you don’t have time, ask yourself two questions:

  1. Imagine if I didn’t have to do this task anymore…what could I be doing instead?
  2. Will ______ grow in their role and multiply their value to the team if they successfully take on this task (fill in the blank with the name(s) of people on your team)?

Choosing to delegate is, in fact, choosing to save yourself valuable time by freeing up your own and empowering your team members to develop new skills!  Those new skills will also enable your team to be more efficient over time, so the time savings are limitless if you make this a habit with all of your team members!

Reframe delegation as an opportunity for team growth.

Another common fear that crops up when considering delegation is that your team members will think you are lazy if you assign them tasks that you previously handled yourself.  This may be true.  But here are two more questions to help you work past this one:

  1. Is an employee who responds negatively to the opportunity to grow as a team member an individual worth keeping on the team? 
  2. Will a team member be flattered that you are entrusting them with a new responsibility?

Try reframing the act of delegating the task in this way: “People want to grow and develop, and I’m holding them back if I don’t delegate to them.”  By thinking about the process of delegation from this perspective, you will automatically be in the proper stance to message the delegation in light of the opportunities it presents rather than worrying about being perceived in a negative light.  This is sure to impact the way in which you deliver the delegation of the task as you highlight the reasons you both need your team member’s help and why they are uniquely positioned to execute it well.  Your employee will more likely feel supported and honored that you see their potential than feel frustrated and bitter that they’ve been asked to take on a heavier load.

Now that you’ve faced some of your fears, it’s time to decide what you’re going to delegate and to whom!  Rockstar Workforce offers a convenient 10 question Delegation Self Assessment Resource that can help you get started with your delegation strategy.  Complete the survey to gain insight into which aspects of delegation you tend to overlook and then adjust accordingly to create your strongest delegation plan yet.  How will you deliver the message?  What will you do to prepare them for the task?  How will you check in with them and how often to ensure your success?  Start writing down your plan and take some time to plug the steps into your calendar. Through the process, you’ll grow your team, and free yourself up to enjoy that summer vacation worry free!  

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