Failing to delegate severely limits the time you have for focusing on the areas that are most important at work and in your life. Many people are doomed to “major in the minors” because they can’t or won’t delegate. Think of delegation as simply insuring that the right things get done by the right people. If you want to improve your ability to delegate, use the guidelines below:
Analyze your activities and classify them into three areas:
1. activities only you have the ability and authority to do
2. activities others should do, but you do occasionally
3. activities you do, but others should do or that should be automated
For the first group of activities, “reality test” your perceptions to ensure only you can do the activities. Check with your boss on items of authority and responsibility. Re-evaluate your subordinates or other departments to determine if they could, or should, be doing some of these activities.
For the second group of activities, reconfirm with others their responsibility for handling the activities. Make sure it is clear that they are to perform the task without your involvement.
The final group of activities offers you the greatest opportunity for increasing your time utilization. First, ask yourself why you do these activities. Is it because:
- you get satisfaction from doing them?
- you can do it better and/or faster than others?
- others don’t want to do them?
- others don’t know how to do them?
- you don’t take time to let other know it’s their responsibility?
- you haven’t taken the time to automate the process?
Now automate all activities possible using technology. This may include your calendar, phone apps and software programs or features. This will take some upfront investment of time but will have a big payoff going forward.
Next you have to identify the specific activities that you can delegate and then develop a plan for doing so. Your plan should include:
- How you will communicate the responsibilities to the other person(s).
- How you will insure the other person(s) is both willing and able to perform the activities.
- How and when you will monitor results to maintain accountability.
Only you can determine the best use of your time. To be successful you must stay focused on the activities that produce the greatest results. Delegating effectively makes sure that you have the time needed to do so.