Still Trying to Do Everything Yourself?

Delegate at Work versus DIY

Doing things yourself is great for puttering around your home. But, particularly while you are trying to ramp up operations to return to full-speed (or even grow) after the shut-down, you need help … lots of it.

It’s time to stop being a micromanager. If you are having trouble letting go, here is a possible path to make it easier.

First, Identify the Reasons Why You Don’t Reach Out

You can’t change your behavior if you don’t understand the reasons behind it. The following are probably the three most-common reasons:

  • You believe that you can do it better than anyone: This may be true, but don’t count on it. Everyone has a unique way of thinking that just might unveil better ways of doing things. As long as they understand the ultimate goal, they may do a task better than you ever dreamed of doing it.
  • You don’t have time to train someone: Isn’t this the basic reason for delegation? If you spend time upfront to provide training, you will be surprised by how quickly you will gain time to perform the really important tasks that only you can do.
  • You lack trust in your team members: Did you really hire a team full of people whom you don’t trust? This is unlikely. Hopefully, you realize that you might need to rely on someone to take charge if you were to break a leg, or even go on vacation. This, alone, is enough reason to train someone who can then step in for you in an emergency.

Take the time needed to dig deeply into your psyche to learn your personal rationale for holding onto every task. Whatever your reasons may be, you need to find ways to eradicate them for the sake of your business.

When Possible, Move Past Prior Reasoning

Of course, there are times when the reasons that you identify are valid. For example, if giving up a task means that you have to also reveal the security codes to bank accounts, you probably have to do the task yourself. On the other hand, perhaps you can assign preliminary paperwork-related tasks to a trusted employee while you continue to handle submission to the bank.

You still need to think twice about your reasons for hanging on to work and figure out how to fix it whenever possible. For example, if you’re concerned about taking the time to train others, perhaps you can reduce the training time by having them shadow you the next time you do a task. As you perform each task, you can explain what you’re doing and why. This easy step ensures that training time is also productive time, while releasing you from performing that task moving forward.

Empower Your Team by Sharing Your Work

At some point, many daily tasks may seem like grunt work to you, but those same responsibilities can help to educate team members about the inner workings of your company. Of course, some things need to remain in your hands to maintain proper security; not all information can be shared with employees. Beyond this one important consideration, however, you may be surprised by how much of your work does not require your personal attention.

In my first job (before computers played a complete role in operations), I was a Purchasing Clerk for an auto and industrial parts distributor, which involved posting items ordered to little cards, and marking them when the items arrived. Then, the Purchasing Manager showed me the inventory printouts created from those cards and taught me how to make educated decisions about which items needed to be re-ordered based on past usage and other factors. Suddenly, I could see the entire operation. Thanks to this deeper understanding, it wasn’t long before I was promoted to a Buyer position.

When you pass your tasks on to employees, make sure that you explain how the task fits into the big picture. When individuals show an interest in this information, make sure that they know that they are prime candidates for promotion. This is a great way to motivate and empower your team.

Ask For Help Beyond the Boundaries of Your Building

If you ask for it, help can come from non-employee sources. Here are some examples of other individuals who can help to lighten your load.

  • Drowning in a sea of administrative paperwork? Retaining the services of a virtual assistant can help you to come up for air without hiring another full-time employee.
  • Don’t like spending hours inputting mountains of data into the computer? Even if you use computerized bookkeeping software, your data entry tasks and report preparation can be easier and even more accurate if you hire a bookkeeper.
  • Spending too much time due to vendor issues? Maybe you’re becoming exhausted because of all of the time you spend following up on late shipments. Perhaps a key vendor makes the ordering process unnecessarily complex. This is the time for a serious discussion with the top gun to collaborate about things that you can do to increase efficiency and help both companies to increase sales.
  • Getting too many time-consuming customer complaints? Rather than just resolving today’s issue, ask the customer for suggestions for a permanent fix.

Delegation Takes Teamwork to a New Level

In most small companies, employees automatically turn to teamwork to reach a common goal. Most of them wear many hats. But, how many of them ever get to wear the boss’ hat?

When you hand some of your work over to your team members, you are accomplishing much more than just fighting burnout. You are empowering your employees by teaching them about the inner workings of your business. This is how you build the next generation of leaders who can handle today’s work — and help your company grow.

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