(Post 2 in a series)
I recall having a conversation with my business partner, Dan Lewis, and saying “I feel like I’m living in the land of Mondays.” He asked me what I meant and I said, “I spend so much of my time telling so many people so many of the same things, I don’t feel like I’m making any progress. I feel stuck.”
He chuckled and said, “Then tell them something different.” I said, “Right, good talk” then walked back to my office.
Inadvertently Dan had got me thinking about doing things differently, WAY differently. I began to keep track of my daily activities on my clipboard and kept tally marks for the categories of things that employees brought to me. I also looked at the items on my weekly schedule that were there every week. After only two weeks of looking at where my time was spent, I saw clearly that I only had a couple of hours each day that was not either repeating weekly activities (meetings, training, check-ins, etc.) or they were people coming to me to sign-off on certain things such as customer service refunds, how to resolve x or y, etc. Things I had done a hundred times. They knew to bring those things to me because they had brought them to me a hundred times.
It absolutely was my own fault.
But if I had built this system inadvertently, I could build a better one intentionally.
I began to dig out some of the leadership books that I had read for different reasons in the past to see what they had on developing systems of getting things done by others instead of doing everything myself? I will share some of those resources at the end of this series, but the magic word here is “Delegation”.
Isn’t delegation just telling other people what to do?
I was already doing that but now my schedule wasn’t full of doing things, it was full of telling others what to do. It wasn’t just the basic things they were doing but anything that wasn’t straight down the pipe vanilla, they freaked out and brought it to me.
I had trained them all to do that. My ego was such that I loved being the “monkey in the middle.” I loved being needed and boy, did I love people telling me how smart I was. I was addicted to being “superman” and loved fixing problems and saving the day (and getting the credit then bragging about it later).
If you want better employees and managers in your company, you are going to have to develop them. The best way to develop employees is to delegate tasks, situations, or problems to them.
Delegation helps your people develop new skills. Not every person can do every task but they each can become better because of intentional delegation on your part. Start with small tasks and work from there. Also, in the next article, you need to practice a new way of answering questions that I call the “bounce-back.”
You can find the first post of the Delegation Series here.
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