3 Secrets to Delegating Work

August 26, 2008

Posted in Small Business.

When you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. Right? This is a classic mistake, one that leads to overworking and stress. After all, each time you take over on a task that you should delegate you’re just adding more work. At some point, that takes its toll and even even you can’t do it as well as you should.

So you delegate the work. But it never seems to get done like you’d expect. And that frustrates you, making you just as stressed as you would have been if you’d done the work yourself.

Here’s how you help get things done right.

1. Give good instructions

This should obvious, but people are terrible at giving directions. Some of the most successful people got that way because they are tremendous communicators. If you have a vision for how a task should be completed, force yourself to thoroughly describe it. Translate that vision from your head and into the email, memo, or sticky note so someone else can understand it.

2. Be helpful and accessible

You’ll get a much better response from people if you make yourself available for follow-up questions and feedback.

3. Lower your standards

Let’s face it – sometimes you can get by with less than perfect and forcing someone else to live up to your expectation of perfect may be unreasonable. I’m not saying you should accept poor performance, but the payoff from delegating work is that you saved yourself a lot of hassle. If it’s absolutely critical that it’s perfect, then make that a condition of the work going in.

Or just do it yourself

If it’s that important, then maybe you should do it yourself. But you have to give up something else. Tim Ferriss even outsourced his email. You can find some way of delegating a lot of the stuff you do. When you do, you’ll be free to focus on high priority items.