How to Delegate

True statement: You cannot do everything. Often it seems easier to attempt that, however, you won’t accomplish much, unless you learn the delicate art of delegation.

A quick disclaimer:  When you start to delegate, make sure the task is somehow worthwhile. Otherwise people will resent you for asking that they spend their time doing work which doesn't benefit anyone. If it's not worth doing yourself than carefully evaluate why, before you ask someone else to. This will help you to avoid being manipulative or demanding. Also, don't assign demeaning tasks which lower the individual's confidence in their abilities. If your helper is willing but inexperienced, take the time to teach and develop their skills so they're actually useful. To put it simply, delegated tasks or projects should be purposeful, and beneficial, not menial or unnecessary.

So when to delegate, instead of DIY? When you've run out of time, resources or energy to get everything worthwhile accomplished. That is when it's time to ask for and oversee help. And......Here's how!

  1. Use reason to persuade someone to join your project. You need them invested in the undertaking. In order  for them to be invested, you need a good reason they should help you. The individual must resound with your idea or motivation for the project. So asking a software engineer to help raise money for a classical dance group is not going to excite his interest or desire to help. Scrutinize your potential helpers and make sure you can provide them with a reason they should care about what your doing.
  2. Appeal to their pride. Every person has a unique set of abilities and characteristics. When asking for help explain what those characteristics and abilities are that made you choose them, and why those will be such an asset to the project. Everyone has worked hard in certain capacities and an occasional pat on the back for their development is good whether you need something or not. But people are more likely to help when they feel valued.
  3. Realize the idea of hierarchy in the project will only hurt it. When people are invested in an idea, and are aware of what their unique capabilities can do for the project, you will just confuse them if you don’t ask for their advice. So make sure to ask for, and give good thought to their suggestions.Remember they do care! Allow them to make certain decisions on their own which will help them feel important to the project (which indeed they are).
  4. Be Appreciative. That may be the most important, it seems very simple, but it is overlooked so often. Take the time to notice when they do a good job, or have been remarkably helpful. Never allow an opportunity to slip by where you can tell someone that they have done well. Many people will happily be inconvenienced, for just a few words of kindness and praise.
  5. Do not micromanage. Once you have delegated a task, allow and trust that they will complete it. This trust will accomplish more than if you were constantly checking up on them. People are offended if you don’t trust their ability to do a project you assigned, or when you are impatient about completion.

People are important and they need to be made to feel that way. If you are in need of help, and there are competent people who can assist, show them through your words and actions how important they are in the role which you placed them.