Many can relate to the feeling of having to "do it all"—whether they are a business owner or not..
Being able to effectively delegate is a critical capacity to both scale your business and to develop those around you. Follow these strategies to improve how you're delegating.
1. Build and maintain relationships
Imagine an otherwise capable, high performing colleague is facing extreme stress because of an issue outside of work. Would you want to delegate a demanding project to that person, knowing more about her situation? There is no right answer, but knowing more about what's going on throughout her life is helpful in making that decision.
Although you may hesitate to assign a critical project to that person, you also wouldn’t want to hand off a project to the least capable person who appears composed and calm on her exterior. Either example of improper delegation can lead to significant challenges.
On the contrary, if you've had, ongoing, open, and positive working relationships with colleagues, you're more equipped to sense who is best equipped to take on projects at any point in time.
To build those relationships over time, get to know your peers: understand their strengths relative to yours, see their opportunity areas, and seek to understand what’s going on throughout their lives, not just at work.
2. Delegate the full project, not just the task
You’re ready to let go and give those around you greater freedom and responsibility to take on new projects. Avoid falling into the trap of maintaining control of your project while just passing on the individual tasks to others.
If you want your people to be engaged and fully immersed, hand over full control. If you trust those around you, and they have the energy, passion, and skill to take on the project, give them the ability to be strategic, creative, and fully own the effort.
“Avoid just giving them the parts of the effort you don't like to do,” adds Scott Weiss, an entrepreneurial business leader with more than 30 years of experience leading various private equity and publicly traded businesses. Scott serves on four boards and is CEO of Ocean Accelerator, one of only two US, faith-based startup accelerators.
The takeaway: An added benefit of truly "letting go" is that you’re helping your people to think and act like owners while freeing up your own time for more important work.
3. Clarify your expectations and check-in process from the start
After choosing the right person to fully "own" a project, make sure you are clear on your aim, and what the ongoing check-in process will look like. Some delegation may require detailed check-ins and frequent communication because it's complex work. “For example, when I think of high-tech entrepreneurs coding and building products, that's a lot of detail,” explains Scott.
For other work, you may take on a role closer to that of a coach. “In that scenario, you might be checking in, gently helping them to stay on track, aiming them towards the outcome,” adds Scott.
Many times the person who is delegating as high-level visibility of what’s going on in the company. The people you’re delegating to need to have your eyes and ears, and it is up to you to figure out how to share context and relevant information with them. Put simply, with the fast-paced nature of business, don’t underestimate the value of context for others.
“Context can be incredibly positive—and context can be incredibly daunting,” adds Scott. “But the leader has to keep everyone informed of the big picture and how that might impact the work so that you set people up for success.”
The takeaway: Part of successful delegation hinges on sharing enough information so that people can make the best decisions possible. Don't neglect that concept every step of the way, starting with your initial hand-off.
Get Work Done Without Doing It All Yourself
One measure of your success as a leader is your ability to get work done without doing it all yourself. And, as you progress as a leader, more of your time will be spent working through others—and working on the business, rather than in it.
At the same time, it’s not always natural to know the most effective way to get the work done with those around you, and it takes time to learn the best methods. Offer yourself the opportunity to grow as a leader by attending the Learning to Work through Others workshop. Come away with greater tools to optimally equip others, helping them to draw out their best thinking, while also spurring them to take action and keep things moving.
Parts of this posts were originally published on Forbes.