You are not alone. Oh, it may seem like that sometimes. When it’s the wee hours and you’re still fulfilling orders. Or when you ask your VA to help with a project and get back something that misses the mark. When no one else seems willing to put in the same effort and attention that you do to getting the job done. Oh, I know. I’ve been there…and back.
Delegation is the bane of every entrepreneur. I learned a ton about why it’s hard and how to do better in my role as SVP Corporate Ombudsman (aka Corp Mom). Managers, by definition, have to delegate to other employees to meet their goals.
As a small business owner, you’re not exempt from needing others to succeed. In fact, I’d say you if you’re a solopro or microbusiness then you definitely have to collaborate to get ahead. The more you can partner with others and share the load the more you can focus on providing (and enjoying) sharing your unique talents with clients. I can testify to that; being in a mastermind group has made all the difference to my business this past year.
Ok, so you know you have to delegate. You may not know how to do that effectively. It’s a bit more complex than, ‘can you get this done by Tues’, folks. Have I struck fear in your heart? Relax.
Delegating is complex because it requires you to communicate clearly and follow a number of steps. Good news is, the steps are simple. Remembering to do them every time is the hard part.
I like the directness and simplicity of the Why, What, How, Do Approach in this article by Andrew Byrant, self-leadership coach. However, there’s more to add to the story. Although it’s written for managers, this approach works swell for entrepreneurs, microbusiness owners, small business owners, freelancers and solopros. Here’s what I’d add.
Partner, Don’t Delegate!
Take the ‘Why, What, How Do’ approach to a real mastery level by learning how to really tell others how to help you succeed.
Tell Why– because it enrolls that person as your partner in the task. Studies show you can get more cooperation when others know your reasons. Also, knowing your reasons and your desired results helps your partner stay focused and solve inevitable problems without you.
Say What– fully explore the relationship you want to build with your partner, not just the requirements for the completed task. Is this a mentoring opportunity? Are you looking for a right hand man? Say why this matters to you
Say How– to talk to you about the project. When do you want to be updated- regularly or as needed? How to you process information best-calls, emails? How do you want to handle issues-bring an answer or involve you in trouble-shooting? What does an emergency look like to you? This is a common communication mistake that derails most delegations. Mind-reading is a lost art; let’s keep it that way.
Let Do-- because no one wins when you micromanage. Your partner will have ideas and resources that you might not. Does it really have to be done your way to be done well? You’re not the source of all genius in your business. Let others shine and that light will reflect beautifully on you!
To my earlier point, why not share how you delegate so we can all succeed!