Are you a leader who feels that your leadership suffers because you are submerged in work?
Do you classify as a solopreneur, with a large emphasis on the SOLO part?
Delegating can be hard for leaders of all types, but I’m noticing a common theme amongst my recently promoted and small business clients who are overloaded with work. While it has become crystal clear that it’s time to offload some time-consuming tasks, delegation feels paralyzing.
Here are the top three (other than financial) reasons why people say they don’t want to delegate:
1) It would take me the same amount of time to explain it to someone as it would to do it myself
2) I don’t trust someone to be as thorough as I am
3) I’m just so used to being in control of it all
Sound familiar? If this reminds you of you, you probably won’t start delegating until the pain and sheer impossibility of trying to do everything by yourself supersedes these beliefs.
And then what happens is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You are overloaded and on a deadline, so ask for or you hire help in a pinch — but because you are rushed, it is rarely the right help. And when you take some of your precious time to explain things, because you are rushed, you don’t explain properly. Then, when the help doesn’t deliver, and all of the things you were afraid of in delegating in the first place become true, you get more frustration (and the luxury of playing the overloaded martyr).
1) Hire with vision: Delegating does take an initial investment of time upfront, but deeply consider the time you will save later. Take your time. Does this person fit with your vision and your “culture”? Can you see this person growing with you if that’s what you want and need? Actually call the references. Get examples of how this person has worked before. Allow what you see and hear about the person to build confidence and make you feel more relaxed — that’s the point.
2) Step into Your Authority: When you hire someone to help, you become their boss. Do you have an inner conflict about the role of boss? Be brave enough to admit it, and then, resolve it. You don’t have to micromanage, you don’t have to be authoritarian, but you do have to be able to direct your help, and correct the person when they don’t get it right the first time. You will also have to ask questions when you don’t understand their actions. There may come a time when you have to fire them. But hopefully, since you hired with vision, you will be considering how to reward their great work and the added business it has allowed for.
3) Sharpen your communication skills: You need to be able to communicate what you want clearly, and make sure you are heard. You also need to be clear in your corrections when things don’t go the way you want them to the first time. And then you get to sit back and see how the person takes direction and experience what it means to be in a “working” relationship.
4) Get comfortable with the discomfort of growth: Leadership is all about listening for and following the impulse to expand. That’s probably one reason why you decided to take the promotion, or to start your own business. I know you want to play a bigger game. In order to do so, you have to be willing to let go of performing tasks that are a waste of your time in order to grow. What’s the worst that can happen? I had an assistant decide to take up a new career and drop our work in the middle of my biggest launch. My course still filled, and even though my first webinars were a technological disaster without her, it all worked out in the end. I was okay. And you will be, too.
If you are able to practice these skills, it’s a good start. Then you need to summon your courage, let go, and jump. We want to free up your time and energy so that you can focus more on your job, and your creativity, and on the factors that made you get into business in the first place.
Let me know if you need help getting there. A Leadership Makeover is a great way to start.
And remember, Love Yourself No Matter What.