Welcome to the Unstoppable Success Podcast series, Episode 14.
In today’s podcast we’re going to be talking about how your ability to delegate is directly related to your level of success. Let me share a little story with you about an experience I had so you can hear where I am coming from with this concept.
I was in the process of launching one of my executive women’s mastermind and coaching groups recently and with these groups, I like to hand pick the women who are members. So I was on the phone inviting women to be a part of this special and unique business experience. One of the women I spoke with told me that she would love to be a part of this newly-formed group, but that she couldn’t possibly due to the fact that she just didn’t have enough time. She went on to explain that she is a bit of a perfectionist and that she lives by the motto that if you want something done right, you have to do it yourself. She then went on to share that she often doesn’t leave the office until well after the last person has left the building and that quite often she is there to greet the night cleaning crew. Incidentally she knows most of them by first name and she also knows when their kids’ birthdays are.
That should tell you that she is at the office late on a regular basis.
As she was talking about her lack of time, I was reminded of myself about 15 years ago when I was as much of a control freak then as she is now. And knowing how I feel and operate now made me feel a little sad for her knowing that this need to control is causing her pain and it is not allowing her, or those around her to grow.
So I shared a little story with her and I will share it with you now. It is the story about the time that I was crying (literally) on the shoulder of a friend of mine about not having enough time. Now this friend was a very busy and powerful lawyer. We served together on the board of a charitable organization. He was not only running a very busy law practice, he was being invited to speak internationally, he was running several small businesses that were supporting other law firms with products and services, and he was an involved family man.
After I got finished crying and complaining, he looked me in my red swollen eyes and said, “How dare you!”
I was flabbergasted.
Instead of getting sympathy, I was being called on the carpet. I guess I had a quizzical look on my face because he said, “Don’t you realize that by doing everything yourself, you are denying someone the chance to learn and grow?” He then went on to suggest that my holding on to tasks was a very selfish thing to do and that he was surprised at my behavior and attitude. His parting challenge to me was for me to think about whether my staff’s inabilities to carry out instructions were their shortcomings or my inability to communicate clear instructions and set firm expectations. He gave me a lot to think about.
Let me take this one step further. I know there are a lot of parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and guardians of children out there. Stop doing everything FOR them and allow them to learn and grow into productive, caring, and intelligent adults. The mistakes they make along the way will teach them how to do it right in the future. You will probably get resistance at first, especially if you’ve been doing everything for them all this time, but over time they will come to enjoy learning how to do new things even if it’s only how to do the laundry or prepare a meal. Celebrate their successes so that they learn to love the learning process. They will also come to have a greater amount of respect for you as a parent.
As a business coach who runs multiple companies, donates time to non-profit organizations, manages a busy social schedule and household, I can tell you that I wouldn’t be able to do all this if I wasn’t delegating to my very capable staff. Delegating allows me time to work on my businesses and develop the vision for my company. It also affords me the time to back away from the business to get a perspective of how close we are to reaching our goals and where trouble may appear along the way.
So think about the things you can delegate right now to those who will probably enjoy the chance to show you that they can do it. Write down three tasks that you as a business owner, entrepreneur, solopreneur, supervisor, or manager should not be doing, then assign those tasks to someone under your supervision today.
Think about these tasks in a broad way. Housekeeping, lawn care, landscaping, as well as business functions can and should be taken into consideration.
Delegation, my friend, is the sign of a true leader.