How often do you delegate?

Delegating in my book is handing a task over to someone in order to free up your time to concentrate on other tasks. On some occasions the person may be better equipped than you and less so on others.

Richard Branson quoted;
“From a young age I learned to focus on the things I was good at and delegate to others what I was not good at. That is how Virgin is run. Fantastic people throughout the Virgin Group run our businesses, allowing me to think creatively and strategically.”

We delegate at home and in our working environment. The problem is it does not come as easy for everyone for at least one of the following reasons;

1. The need for one to keep control of the task/project by choosing not to involve others.
2. Fear of being told “no”
3. Not wanting to burden or overload another person with what we feel we should own.
4. Not wanting to feel out of the loop

In order to delegate, one must be confident to ask another believing he or she can deliver. If there are any reservations, you can work closely with this person until they are ready to run with the project alone.

We all started from somewhere and made mistakes along the way – well I certainly did! We must give others the opportunity to prove themselves and gain exposure which will push them forward in their careers.

Even in my home, I delegate small tasks to my children in order to build their confidence and equip them for teen hood and adulthood where they will be expected to have key skills and rightly so. Whether it be packing away clothes, hoovering or simply tidying up. Of course it would be easier for me to do the tasks – I would complete them in half the time but in the long run, I will not be helping my children.

Delegating does not have to mean giving up complete ownership of a project – no, you are simply bringing others in on it. The saying “two heads are better than one” is absolutely true. If someone can assist you along the way, why not let them? You too will be called upon to help others with your skills and expertise. You should have the same enthusiasm for assisting others as you do with others assisting you – it is a two way street.

Are you a delegator?
Do you struggle to let go?
What have you found to be the upside and downside of delegating?

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21 thoughts on “How often do you delegate?”

  1. I don’t delegate much in my current job as a sole proprietor, but I did learn the art of delegating when I was a teacher. It can be hard to get used to, but once in place, it’s a fast journey to realize how much delegating tasks can pay off.

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  2. Hi Phoenicia: Your blog is beginning to look like it could be turned into a very useful book or e-book, Phoenicia. I don’t know if it is your intent or not, but you’ve certainly touched on many topics that apply to most of us. I have no one to delegate tasks to in the home, but I do farm out tasks with respect to my biz, and also when it comes to my volunteer work. Delegating iOS good for both parties, as it relieves responsibility on the one side, and offers the opportunity for growth on the other.

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  3. A very insightful post Phoenicia! I have trouble delegating sometimes because of reason no. 3: not wanting to burden or overload another person with what we feel we should own.
    But you’re absolutely right of course, if we don’t delegate some of our work we might end up not being productive at all because we try to deal with too much on our own. I totally agree with what you said about letting your kids do chores and things around the house too, it builds their sense of responsibility although I’m sure it would take you less time to do them! Thank you for sharing =)

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  4. Delegating is important because it is so true – you cannot do everything and sometimes, other people can do it better than you. When I was a manager in hospitality, I would delegate tasks. However, sometimes it was frustrating because people wouldn’t deliver and at times, I would want to just do things myself.

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    1. I know all too well that you make a rod for your own back when you attempt to do everything yourself. It is not sustainable and to a certain extent it isolates you. You grow to know others through team working.

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  5. I think it is great that you delegate tasks to your kids. I feel I didn’t get enough of that growing up, and had to start from 0 when I was no longer living with my parents. It helped that I left home super young, so I got a head-start in making up for lost time. But I now think that kids who are delegated tasks from a young age grow up with a greater appreciation of what gets done and are well equipped to take care of themselves as adults.

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    1. We are doing our children a disservice if we do not teach them essential life skills. The number of young adults that cannot cook, clean or manage their finances is astounding.

      I recall moaning when my mum showes me how to operate the washing machine at the age of 10 or 11. I wanted to do my own thing but my mum insisted.

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  6. When I managed large staffs when I was in the corporate world I did delegate. It’s essential that you communicate the scope of the assignment, the deadline and expected outcomes. The reason why things go wrong is that people aren’t clear what’s expected of them.

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    1. Jeannette – you are spot on. If we are handing an assignment over, the person must have a full understanding of what they are required to do. The end results would be disastrous if we failed to communicate effectively.

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  7. I think I’ve been delegating since before I knew what the word meant. When we were tots, a cousin shouted, “you aren’t the boss of me.” So yep, I think I’ve always delegated. Branson has it right–do what you do well and have other people do the rest.

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  8. Good to read you delegate some tasks to your children, too many these days seem to have little or no investment in the family unit and home or any idea that they are a valued member of the team, for their skills and efforts.

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    1. I have to consciously step back as one side of me would like to step in and get the job done quickly. I remind myself I had to be taught almost everything I put my hands to. We were not born knowing the rules.

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  9. Hello Phoenicia,
    I mostly do all my work on my own. In my blog, for example, I write the articles, draw cartoons, write quotes, create infographs, promote the post all by myself.
    It is hectic. So may be in future I will need people to work with me.
    Allowing a skilled person to do his part is wise thing to do.

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    1. Tuhin – you are good at what you do (I love your pictures)and perhaps can manage it now. When your blog/business grows you may have to consider bringing others on board.

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  10. Well said Phoenicia. Many people struggle with delegating and while the need to control is part of it, another issue is a lack of trust. As a solopreneur I really don’t have anyone to delegate to right now, but when I still worked in the corporate world I was pretty good at sharing the load. I won’t say it was always easy, but I do believe it’s worthwhile.

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  11. Delegating is easy. Honestly even the worst scum in the world are able to do so. They just tell other people to do the work and can hence avoid doing it themselves. Have you ever come across any manager that does not excel in delegating? Seriously, you have to be a leader to delegate, trust people and, if necessary, help them at first. What they don’t know from the start they will learn. If it takes long you just have to lead them and eventually they will succeed.

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    1. Delegating is not easy for everyone. Perhaps the more assertive of people have no problems with it. I agree that you must learn to entrust others – this is the only way they will develop.

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