To let go and delegate is one of the hardest areas that many clients share with me during our leadership development coaching work. My clients are high performing, elite executives and they like most of us want to be the very best they can be as a leader.
My aim for today’s leadership blog ‘Delegate’ is to share suggestions that I have seen work for many of my clients. Enjoy
Delegation is sometime not at the forefront of my clients needs nor is it what they come to me for coaching, yet as we together progress in our coaching engagement it becomes very clear to them that they must delegate!
There are many ways to successfully delegate and what we cover today is just a starting point. Like many things we do in our coaching work there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach. Any such change of behaviour needs to be owned and driven by the client.
What is your role!…
…it’s vital we understand fully our role in the organisation. If you are not clear spend some time to get clear or as I like to call it……..Get clarity
If we contemplate for a second the actual meaning of ‘delegate’*
“To give a particular job, duty, right to someone else so they can do it”
How does that sit with you today? Are you a delegator, do you delegate if so why, if not why? Or are you doing everything, taking on more that you should, try to please others and ultimately carrying the pressure of others more than you really ‘need to’.
Are you acting on the exact meaning of delegating or are you yourself trying desperately to complete and do everything?
Think about that for a minute before we head on. Don’t skip the actual part of thinking about yourself (be selfish here and be very brave in your own thinking)
To help you get clarity or as I like to say get started here is an exercise you can do over the coming few days.
In your journal book (those of you who are regular readers of my leadership blogs will know how much journaling is such an enabler…..) jot down
what is your job description?
what are you actually responsible for?
what is your focus?
As a side note (I’d encourage you to complete this exercise with all your direct reports to see where each of them actually are right now)
If you don’t have a job description then I would encourage you to write one, work with your Manager/Board and or HR to ensure its up to date and it reflects your position.
Once you have completed that task on another page note down what you are actually doing (with your time), where are you spending your focus, energy and what is it you are actually accomplshing..again don’t hide anything put it down…..put it all down on that paper.
Typically I’d encourage my clients to do this for a 2 week period to get themes and to build the muscle. The aim here is for you to start to join the dots, what are you there to do as apposed what are you actually doing.
Here are some themes that might help you get going…..
How did I spend my time, (responding to emails, in meetings, one-on-ones, having coffees, booking holidays, using social media, preparing documents, travelling etc…..
What did I actually accomplish for myself today
How many hours did I spend today doing what? Log in 30min phases is a good starting point
Repeat this for 2 weeks……
Don’t over analyse or think this or try to come to a conclusion. Leave nothing off the table here be absolutely clear an honest with your work.
Time to Review
Now the fun part, sit down and review what you have written, what is your Job description and what aspects are crossing over to the actually work you ARE physically doing!
The purpose of doing this important work is for you to understand right now your behaviours and more importantly what behaviours need to be strengthen and or developed around delegating.
This important work will lazar in on the areas you must start to focus in on and those areas you need to delegate.
I recently had a CEO complete this work, he looked at me at first and said Nick what have you been smoking. I am the CEO, I do lots of things, I have a lot of pressure on me and I just need to get it done, it’s easier if I just do it myself!!!!! (sounds familiar does it, I just need to get it done……..)
well if you are like my CEO friend then we must get to work on this today, so stop what it is you are doing and complete the above exercises.
It’s now 2 weeks from the time you have done both those exercises, congratulations for stepping forwards and putting pen to paper.
To be successful in delegating now we must do our analysis work (don’t be tempted to just pop your journal book into the top draw and hope things will change – trust me they won’t) now is the time to get to work on areas you must realistically delegate – if they are not serving you in your role its ok to delegate.
Cross reference both documents / use colour here if it helps things pop from the page. Allow yourself to ask these few questions
What are your general observations
How are you feeling about that
What are the things you are doing as apposed to should be doing
How can you progress and ask for help from others – those who may be better at doing a particular task (start small)
If you did get help how would that make you feel and therefore focused on what you are supposed to be doing
How can you help others
Now is the time to share your findings thoughts and ideas with your Manager, peers or teams. The reason to share your work is because many people do not communicate what is going on, many people are reluctant to be vulnerable and to ask for support/help…..by communicating this to their Manager, peers and or team.
I’d encourage you not to hold back on communicating. This is NOT a sign of weakness its a sign you actually care and want the very best for yourself and those around you.
Many clients who I have had the pleasure of coaching are reluctant to delegate, they say Nick everyone around me is also so busy, they are all full up and working hard, how can I possible give them more……….remember that at the begging of this blog I said it might be good idea to do this work/exercise with your direct reports, to gauge where they are at, what are they focusing on etc……..with that insight and your need to delegate you will be in a much clearer picture. You will be able to now start to plan what you can delegate, what you must delegate and what you must keep doing.
The Time To Stop Doing.
Having done this work for many years with clients the most common theme that my clients share with me is this, Nick I didn’t realise what I was actually doing with my time as apposed to what I should be doing with my time! I am now clear on my focus and I can now see clearly what aspects I must delegate.
In order to improve, progress or simply make a slight tweak we now have to allow things to take place.
My advice is to ensure you are spending the time to
a) understand you and your role
b) understand who your people are, what do they do, how are they enabling the business and are they doing the work that fulfils them?
c) understand that it is ok to delegate!
The Time To Review.
Given that this is quite a bit of work, another observation I share with my clients is the need to ‘slow down’. If we rush this work, this research then we may not have the confidence to delegate, trust the process…..
Start on the little things,
Understand the areas you should be doing and know where others would be better positioned to do that work
allow your confidence to grow,
expect somethings to work, keep learning (this is not a quick fix….)
If you have a team around you then ensure you are clear with why you are doing this work and don’t forget to ask how can you help them to! Find an expert in your business who you feel is an amazing delegator and understand how they operate, learn from others……
Above all congratulate yourself and reflect on what is working and what is not working for you.
Thank you for taking the time to digest our blog today, we encourage you not to beat yourself up if you are struggling to delegate, many people are – it will take time, it will be hard and it will be one of the most critical aspects of your leadership development, once you have got confident with delegating please don’t forget to share your wisdom, your thoughts in the hope it enables others to get to grips with delegating……
Our final question is one that should hit home……
Will You Take Action?
Look after yourself and each other
About Your Coach
Awarded Most Outstanding Executive Coaching Consultancy New Zealand at the 2021 Global Business Awards
Awarded Best Executive Coaching Consultancy New Zealand at the 2020 Asia Pacific Business Awards
#3 Master Certified Executive Coach in the world on Intelligent Leadership Executive Coaching
An Executive Coach on the EMBA & MBA programme at one of New Zealand’s most prestigious university
A pro bono coach to the ICF and Manaaki.io
*cambridge english dictionary