How to Delegate Successfully (If You're Someone Who Hates Delegating)
If you hate delegating, I have good news for you: you’re not alone. Giving up control is never easy, and entrepreneurs in particular have a reputation for trying to do everything, all at once, all by themselves. But running a business alone is a little bit like performing every circus act by yourself–sometimes for the short-term, but hugely exhausting and challenging over the long-term. What’s more, bringing others onto your team can actually be beneficial for growth. If you cringe at the thought of delegating, here are some ways to move past that feeling.
The pursuit of perfectionism is a double-edged sword that makes it hard for people to surrender control even when they’re overwhelmed.
1. Get honest with yourself.
Think about why you hate the thought of passing responsibility off to others. Is it due to your perfectionist nature, or have you been disappointed by team members in the past? Maybe you simply don’t have time to find the right people and train them. For most people who choose to do it all, it’s a combination of all three reasons. The pursuit of perfectionism is a double-edged sword that makes it hard for people to surrender control even when they’re overwhelmed.
Past bad experiences or disappointments can leave a bad taste in your mouth, reinforcing the belief that you need to manage everything, big and small. And not having time to find your team is a byproduct of trying to do it all. My advice? Give yourself permission to take a chance. You have to say “yes” to the possibility it could all work out before you can decide it’s not for you.
2. Find people who understand you and your business.
There is a whole wide world of qualified, awesome job-seekers out there, but not all of them will be a good fit for you and your business. If you’re an entrepreneur, chances are that you know a few other entrepreneurs that can refer you to consultants or professionals that they admire and trust.
If not, reach out to close friends or family and see if they know any capable people in your desired industry. One of the great benefits of technology is that people often reach out on social networks when they’re looking for a job or consulting opportunity. While you may not have time for a lengthy application process for prospective consultants or employees, you should design a way to gauge whether they are a good fit.
A phone or video call can help you assess whether you have similar communication styles. Ask about working styles, schedules, and who an ideal client is for them. Explain your own long-term and short-term goals. Let it unfold as a conversation and understand that not everyone will be a fit. If it’s not, move on!
As you make for time for yourself, you’ll have more freedom to pursue new clients and work on long-term projects or goals.
3. Start small.
You don’t need to hand off a huge component of your business all at once. Chances are that some occasional help with specific tasks will help you focus your energy and time. As you get more comfortable delegating, you can identify areas that don’t need your everyday input and begin to gradually lighten your load even more.
As you make for time for yourself, you’ll have more freedom to pursue new clients and work on long-term projects or goals. You’ll also be able to keep to a less grueling schedule. Rather than working around-the-clock, you’ll be able to work smarter, and you’ll be more likely to leave work behind when you’re done for the day.
4. Let technology help you.
Delegating can be a logistical challenge if you’ve been working solo for months, or even years. If you haven’t had a reason to share your files with anyone else, chances are that everything is on your laptop within a system that only makes sense to you. Before you even begin to hand over tasks, get organized.
Setting up a mechanism for the smooth transfer of information will save you hours down the road. Regardless of how organized you are, remember that new hires don’t know what you know and can only assimilate the information that you give them. Make it easy on both of you by setting up a Google Drive or Dropbox with important files and instructions. Quick, written tutorials on how you ordinarily complete tasks can be used as references, resulting in fewer questions for you along the way. While you have to expect a lot of questions in the beginning, streamlined resources will make the transition ten times quicker.
Being an entrepreneur is thrilling, but it can also be lonely at times.
5. Capitalize on the creativity of your team.
Working alongside others means that you have greater opportunities to brainstorm new ideas. This doesn’t mean that you have to give up your solopreneur status; there will still be projects and initiatives that you want to tackle alone. When you want to bounce ideas off of someone else, however, your consultants, employees, or team members will be ready and able to help.
Given their familiarity with your business, they also may have some great ideas of their own. Being an entrepreneur is thrilling, but it can also be lonely at times. On days when you feel like you’re in a rut, you’ll be grateful to have the ear of someone who understands how to help your business thrive, and who can help implement whatever next big thing you can dream up.