The Myth of Delegation
Story by Matt Cowell | Jul 04, 2013
The goal of management is to create value through employees’ unique abilities while working together for a common cause. One myth you always hear as a manager is that if you are feeling overwhelmed, you just need to delegate more. Well, if you look back at the old world of management, it was probably simple to do, but in the new world of management, it’s just not that easy.
As I have developed and matured as a leader, I’ve had many struggles in the area of delegation. If I wanted others to help me, I would give them a project or task and expect it to be done correctly. What I found is that nobody I was working with could complete the job like I expected it to be done. I was discouraged that in the time it took for me to explain how to do the task, I could have had it finished.
So I started completing tasks and not delegating them anymore, and I started to become overwhelmed again. The cycle continued until one day during church, I felt like someone was stabbing a knife in my heart. I thought I was having a heart attack! I left church and went and sat in the car until my wife and kids got out. We went to the ER, and they admitted me immediately. I spent the next two days sitting in the hospital where they stuck, poked and prodded me. It was in that moment that I realized I had to eliminate some of this stress and find a delegation process that worked for me.
I started studying the principals of delegation and recognized that most programs and concepts only help you identify the items needing delegation and then tell you how to do it. Just find items that need to be done, and delegate. Well, I tried that, and it didn’t work. So I decided to throw out the old-school concepts and design The Delegation Navigator, a five-step process.
Five steps of The Delegation Navigator:
• Complete an inventory of all the tasks/duties you complete in a given year.
• Determine the items you like to do/don’t like to do.
• Identify areas you want to do more or less of.
• Identify who on your team is capable of completing the tasks you want to do less of.
• Determine the success criteria for each task, list them and then itemize them so you know the task is being done according to your expectations, along with a deadline of when you want them to completely take over the task.
By creating and following this simple process, I have been able to successfully delegate multiple tasks with great results, teach others how to unload stress and make work more pleasant by assigning tasks to those who enjoy specific duties. Not only does this result in reduced stress, but it also makes life more enjoyable overall. I’m happy to report I am feeling great these days, and delegating is easier and stress-free.