Never Too Late to Delegate
November 30, 2019 by Rose Cook
There’s an old expression that goes something like, “If you want it done right, do it yourself.” For people like me who tend to lean a little towards being a perfectionist, this adage rings quite true. Maybe you ask your spouse or kids to help with something, then just as quickly drop a quick, “Never mind I’ll do it,” because you want it done your way. Have you ever asked for help only to re-do it because it’s not the way you wanted? I’ll admit it if you will, sometimes it’s just so hard to let go! However, not only am I making more work for myself by hanging onto some of the chores that my family can handle just fine, I’m missing out on doing other, maybe more important (or fun) things because I’m too fussy about the stupid stuff. If I ask one of my kids to vacuum, does it matter that the vacuum lines aren’t all going the same direction? Is the carpet any less clean? C’mon Rose, let it go!
In previous newsletters over the years, we’ve talked about delegating and how important it is to not play all of the parts yourself. You’re the project manager and not a one-man or woman show. The coach of a sports team doesn’t go out and play all of the positions himself and the conductor of a band doesn’t also sit on the stage playing all of the instruments. That is not their role. Their role is to lead, to guide and to delegate the responsibilities to the people he or she has put into those positions. If you think you can do the job better, then use it as a teachable moment and take the opportunity to share your knowledge. Perhaps in taking the time one on one you may even learn something new. A colleague was recently telling me about a member of his team who he felt wasn’t handling something he delegated the “right” way. By “right” way he admitted it was not so much right as it was the way he would’ve handled it. Feeling he could offer some constructive criticism he sat down to have a discussion regarding the issue. Instead of having that teachable moment he expected, he ended up getting “schooled” when his team member explained the reasoning behind how he was handling the issue and why he chose this specific approach. In the end, the team member had a much better way that proved to be successful.
The point of my story is that by loosening control and delegating responsibilities, you may learn that there are many roads that lead to the same destination. You may even find a better route in getting there. As we’ve talked about in the past, it’s important to recognize when your plate is full and it’s time to let go. It’s crucial to your success and a critical component in keeping your forward momentum. How do you plan to get ahead when you keep treading water doing too much or are going backwards re-doing something that was done perfectly well, but just not your way?
Stepping back and letting go is hard. So is trying to do it all. Consider this, if you want to be an effective leader you must learn to delegate tasks to the people you have in place to handle them. Ask yourself, “What am I not getting done because I’m spending time in the wrong place?” So to all of the other perfectionists and over-achievers out there I say, it’s never too late to delegate!
-Rose Cook, FlexPro CEO