If you want it done, do it yourself is the mantra of the women (and men) who do too much. A more accurate mantra would be, it you want to be overworked and over-stressed, do it yourself! It is easier to have everything under your control but it is neither realistic nor healthy. For your sanity, you should delegate.
I know what you are saying, “Karyn, I don’t have time to show anyone how to do it (whatever it is).” If you have another objection, it might be, “I could show them how to do it but they probably won’t do it right.”
My short answer to both questions is “Yes.” Now, allow me to elaborate.
Yes, you are right. It does take time to show someone how to do something. However, the time you take now will save time down the line. Invest now and reap the benefits later. Make sure to schedule your training when you have a little extra time. If you are facing an impeding deadline, it isn’t the time to train anyone. For a simple task, give the person you’ll be delegating to the opportunity to observe you and ask questions. This might be all you need to do. For more complicated tasks, get a pen and paper and jot down the steps you are taking as you go along. This way you won’t forget anything. Share your instructions with your delegatee.
Yes, you are right. There is a good chance that the new person won’t be as wonderful as you are in completing the tasks. Then again, maybe they will be. The question to ask is “Do they have to be that great?”Sure your hospital corners are immaculate when you make the bed, but when your son makes his own bed, do they have to be so pristine? You may be a better cook but is your husband’s food edible enough for him to make dinner one night a week? Is it okay if he orders out? The key here is patience, flexibility and realistic exceptions.
Here are some additional tips for delegating.
- Be clear. Know exactly what tasks you are delegating and how often you want them done. Make your expectations and your instructions as clear as possible.
- Show some flexibility. As the saying goes, "There is more than one way to skin a cat." Focus more on the outcome than how that outcome was reached. Give the person you're delegating to a little freedom to complete the tasks his way. As long as it's right, it usually doesn't matter what means were used to reach the end.
- Have a balanced approach. Be it kids or co-workers, if you are delegating a number of tasks, don't just pass off the dreaded tasks, pass off some tasks that might be interesting, or dare I say it, even a little fun!