Everyone knows that delegation matters, and yet I find so few leaders who are actually skilled in the art. If you can’t handoff some of your work to others and focus on more important things, you’ll end up carrying a far bigger load than you should, it will slow you down, and burnout won’t take very long.
I know a producer who started in the business about the same time as me, but he never invested the time in delegating his work to others. As a result, he’s never moved up in his career. He’s essentially doing the same things he was doing 30 years ago because he would never delegate anything that would have allowed him the time to advance. Worse, to accomplish it all, he’s become a workaholic, spends an enormous time away from his family, and his marriage is in shambles.
On the other hand, delegation is a risk. As my friend fears, you may look bad when you farm out tasks to less experienced people. Your work may suffer for awhile. It may damage the relationship with your boss or client.
But once you get over that initial hump, everything changes for the better.
To do it well, here’s what you need to know:
1) Be intentional about selecting the person for the handoff. Make sure they have potential, the desire to excel, and the chemistry is right.
2) Start small. You don’t have to give them authority over a big project. Just allow them to assist you with small issues, and as they do well, then move up.
3) Know in advance they’ll probably screw some things up. Remember, you screwed things up back in the day, so be patient and understanding. Good coaches don’t step in and do the work for the players, they keep encouraging and advising from the sidelines.
4) Spend time with the person. You want them to know your work style, your personal habits, preferences, and expectations. That takes time. the more time you invest in them, the better result you’ll find.
It’s really your choice. Be sure you’ll always look good and do all the work yourself, OR expand your territory, and advance in your career by offloading responsibilities to a trusted associate. Long term, the temporary bumps in the road are more than worth it.