Delegation is so massively misunderstood it’s crazy. Here’s a good example of how bad it can be. I used to watch The Apprentice back in the day because it was an incredible example of how NOT to lead people. You see the worst leadership from start to finish.
My favorite episodes were at the end of the season, when there were two people battling to win the spot of the “Apprentice.” The show brought back three former players to be team members for each finalist. Then, the finalists “lead” the new teams. Almost every time, one of the finalists will be off to the side on camera talking about how leading is giving people a task and then getting out of the way and trusting the team to use their talents to get the job done.
Then, you see a camera on some of the team members running around saying, “I have no clue what I’m doing, I’ve never done this before, and I can’t seem to get our leader to give me direction.” In the end, their leader is usually the one who loses the game. Go figure.
That’s a HORRIBLE way to lead, much less delegate! Delegation is not giving someone a task and then waiting to see if they fail. It’s making sure you do everything possible to help that person succeed. So here are a few things you can do, so you don’t end up like an Apprentice loser:
- Grow up already – You can’t delegate unless you are mature enough to understand how important it is to growing your business. When you properly delegate, you duplicate yourself. As a leader, you goal should be to get all the tasks off of your plate, so you can—it’s crazy, I know—LEAD! But you can’t if you’re stuck every day doing things someone else can do. Too many times I hear leaders say, “Well it’s just faster if I do it myself.” Yes, because you weren’t mature enough to teach someone the right way to do it. Proper delegation takes time. But when someone is trained, you’re golden.
- Do an ID check – While you have to be mature, so does the person you’re delegating to. If they can’t ask questions when they don’t understand something—For example, Is this supposed to be prostrate instead of prostate?—they will struggle in completing the task. They also have to be mature enough to not get in over their head. The person who says, “Oh, of course I’ve synthesized a mentholated alkaloid before … I usually use vise grips for that. This person is going to be explaining to you why your project has missing pieces.
Now that I have you on the edge of your seat, I’m going to make you come back tomorrow for the rest.
Question: How have you seen delegation gone bad?
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