Lighthouse Strategic Partners

Delegation or Abdication?

Delegation or Abdication?

Delegation is a key skill that is learned through training and application. Although effective delegation comes with time and experience, it is one of the most important skills a manager or business owner can acquire. The better you are at delegation, the more leverage you will develop in your work and in your life.  Leverage is what you have when the people in your organization are doing the work that you used to do, but it has been assigned to them through extensive training with clear guidelines, allowing your focus to be on higher value or bigger impact issues that improve the business.

This all sounds well and good but let’s be honest. Most people are lousy at delegation. Why? There are many reasons. Maybe they don’t trust that the people they delegate to can do it as well as ” I can do it”!  Perhaps it is an issue of improper training or readiness to take over the task. You say to yourself that It can be done faster if ” I just do it”.  Or worse, if I delegate tasks then “I won’t have enough to do myself”.  It could be a matter of you as business owner being “out of your comfort zone” as you move from “Manager” to “Owner” in learning to build a business that is growing and works without you.
Another term that people confuse with “delegation” is “abdication”. Abdication exists when you delegate a task or job, but you also give up responsibility.  For example, when a business owner gives an employee a task or job without clear expectations and guidelines, then criticizes them for not doing it correctly, that is abdication. Without proper training or systems in place, employees will be left to figure things out themselves and sometimes the results will be less than optimal. Even when delegating, take responsibility as the owner. It’s your business, and it’s up to you that everyone else is doing their jobs to your expectations. Do not delegate and walk away and then hide when it hits the fan. Be accountable and focus on results. As a coach, I work with business owners all the time, helping managers to develop these skills and to concentrate on getting results. It is extremely rewarding for a business owner or executive to see significant improvements in the business when properly delegating and leveraging work through good people.

Proper delegation requires training someone to do the job first, watching them do it, evaluating the results, and then moving on to the next task to be delegated. A great way to do this is to put the task in writing. Have the employee attempt the task through following the written instructions. If the results are not where you want them, further training is required, the written instructions need to be clarified, or both.  Once the task is completed to your satisfaction, you have a trained employee and a written system that you can incorporate into your business forever. Do this once and it should last for a lifetime, and when the next person needs to do the task due to growth or change in staff, the system and the task have already been documented and all that needs to be done is the training.

Start to use this process in your business and you will effectively be building a business that works without you. When you are ready to begin, call us in as your coaches and we will give you a fresh perspective and expert advise and train you on how to train your people on how to be the best they can be.

Call Lighthouse Strategic Partners to help you with your biggest business challenges at 508-946-2655.

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