Outsource Your Own Job: Learn How to Delegate Effectively

Business.com / Managing / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

There's only so much you can do by yourself and cloning technology isn't available yet, so here are ways you can delegate your workload.

So you’ve finally admitted to yourself that you can’t do it all. And because cloning is still years away from being possible, you can’t create mini versions of yourself to help you get everything done. The next option is delegating your responsibilities to employees both in-house and outsourced. The question is how to delegate effectively without being a never-satisfied-micromanaging-control-freak? With these 5 steps, it’s simple. 

Stop being a work hoarder

Just like those poor people on the infamous TLC show, you may be suffering from a hoarding condition (ok maybe not). But if you’re working 70 hours a week and the quality of your work is slipping, it might be time to give away your stuff.

Related Article: Dear BDC: How Do I Best Manage Expectations?

For Hoarder Harry, underlying psychological issues are usually the driving factor for their accumulation of old pizza boxes and cat hair. And you too might be holding on to your pile of suffocating work for reasons you won’t admit to.

Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of What Were They Thinking? Unconventional Wisdom About Management, warns that even the most self-aware of managers aren’t immune to biases. He notes that many deal with “self-enhancement bias”, or the perfectionistic belief that everything is easier (and better) if completed by them. Others worry that less responsibility will diminish their worth to others or that shared knowledge will make their jobs more competitive.

People will not steal your jobs. Stop being a perfectionist.

Look for the right people

Obviously you want to allot the right responsibilities to the right people with the right skill sets. But find people who are self-starters and entrepreneurial in nature. They’ll take pride in their work and aim to get things done in the most efficient way possible.

Clarify expectations and establish checkpoints

Be crystal clear about what you expect in terms of results. If you’re handing off your finances, indicate what needs to be managed. Payroll processing and accounts receivable? Or just collections? If you’re handing off social media responsibilities, make sure they understand what’s required- from posting frequencies to reporting. Establish both long-term outcomes and smaller, more immediate goals as well.

Design a review schedule to ensure your subordinates are on the right path. Employees are 4x more likely to score highly on Deloitte’s Total Performance Index when their goals are reviewed quarterly. But this is also time for your employees to express themselves, rather than 30 minutes of you harping on them for their shortcomings. Ask them how the process is going, if they want any suggestions, and how they think the outcome will be.

Related Article: 9 Most Effective Apps for Internal Communication

Define your own role

Clarify their new obligations and create reviews, but do not micromanage. Communicate the level of involvement you’ll have in this new situation. Will you review reports weekly or monthly? Do you expect collaboration with tackling HR duties? Or do you expect full management of marketing strategies? Then let them go forth. Pick your battles, too. Does it really matter if their processes are different if the end results are sufficient?

Recognize and reward

No one likes to be assigned more work only to be ignored for his or her labor. In fact, the number one reason your employee will leave is because he or she felt unappreciated. Establish positive reinforcements for tasks well done and transfer that self-confidence you have onto others.

According to Bersin by Deloitte, companies with sophisticated recognition practices are 12x more likely to have strong business outcomes. Want to have your cake and eat it too? Recognize and reward your employees.

Let employees learn from their mistakes

Your employees will make mistakes. Make that your desktop wallpaper to serve as a reminder. Let them learn the right way. Business advisor, author and executive,
Patty Azzarello, reminds CEOs that they too learned by making mistakes: “Isn’t that how you got good at what you do? By doing it. Trial and error. Feedback. Trying again? They will learn how to really do it if you give them a chance,” Azzarello tells Fast Company.

“If they never learn, you never build capability, and you get stuck working evenings and weekends to cover for the fact that your team is not capable of the work it needs to deliver.”

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