I pride myself on giving good instructions. I think they are perfectly detailed and explain it all so easily that anyone who can read can follow them.
As you can guess, Warren disagrees with that statement. He tells me that sometimes when I delegate things to him or Pooja, I’m not quite as perfect as I think, and sometimes my delegation is lacking.
Maybe he is right.
I’m willing to bet that I’m not the only one who thinks they are an A+ delegator and get disappointed when the final result doesn’t match our expectations.
Check the following list for the top five delegation mistakes and see if you are guilty of them too.
- Expecting Your End Result
Have you ever shared a recipe with a friend when they asked for it? They love your perfect chocolate chip cookies or prime rib and want to make it too. You give them the exact recipe, and yet what they create isn’t at all what you create. It is different, yet you both followed the same instructions.
Over the years, you have learned little secrets that continue to make the same recipe better that you instinctively do. You may not even realize that you have made subtle adjustments or interpretations to the instructions. From your perspective, you follow the receipt exactly as written.
Your work is the same. You may do something slightly different in the process that affects the outcome the same way our cookies differ from a slight alteration.
Except we don’t see the nuances in what or how we do things, and we expect that if someone follows the same directions, they will create exactly what you create. It isn’t reasonable to expect it to be exactly how you would do it. Everyone puts their own “personality” on tasks, and as soon as something, anything at all, is changed, it isn’t done properly, in your opinion.
Be clear on the final result, and ask yourself if “done” is good enough rather than done “exactly” the way you would.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”UMhpl” via=”yes” ]Be clear on the final result and ask yourself if “done” is good enough rather than done “exactly” the way you would.[/ctt]
- Expecting Perfection
Is it reasonable for someone to be perfect at a new task, even with exact directions, the first time they did that task?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”GfNc7″ via=”yes” ]Is it reasonable for someone to be perfect at a new task, even with exact directions, the first time they did that task? No! Read here how to avoid delegation mistakes[/ctt]
If you’ve ever built Ikea furniture, you know that even when you follow the directions exactly as listed, it doesn’t always give you a perfect result. There is a difference between the first bookcase you build and the fifth bookcase you build, even though the instructions are the same and they are followed each time.
Practice does make perfect. When we delegate, we can’t expect it to be perfect until they’ve had an opportunity to perform the task at least a few times!
- Fixing Mistakes
When I ask Pooja to schedule one of our weekly webinars, I make sure that I don’t go into the website to fix something if there is a mistake.
For instance, last week, one of our new one-day workshops had a mistake caused by the system (not by Pooja). It often happens when you copy text from Word into WordPress. I asked Pooja to post the new workshop, which means I delegated it to her.
That also means that I cannot fix it either. If I fix it, I am not teaching her how to do the task properly. She wouldn’t learn the importance of looking at the final copy with several different browsers to ensure it looks how it should. I wouldn’t have delegated the task and responsibility at all.
So, when I saw the & had “&ersand” in the workshop text, I sent her an email asking her to fix it. I could have fixed it quite quickly, but what would she have learned? She would have never even known there was a mistake. This means the next time I asked her to post a new workshop, she wouldn’t have learned that she needed to check it on different browsers. I still might find a mistake in the future as she didn’t have the opportunity to take full responsibility for the task when I jumped in and fixed it.
- Not Giving Enough Time
There are some tasks that I can do incredibly quickly and efficiently, and I’m good at them because I’ve done the task so many times. But I shouldn’t expect someone doing the same task for the first time to be as fast as I am at it.
When we delegate a deadline, we must ensure we give extra time to complete the task—a lot of extra time.
When we do our online workshops and webinars, we use Zoom. I put all the polls into Zoom before the workshop, so they are ready to go. I know exactly what polls I want, how I want them to look, and how to input them. I have done it many times myself and can input polls quite quickly.
Warren doesn’t use Zoom very often. He is rarely a participant and never the facilitator. He can schedule my appointments in Zoom but isn’t comfortable moving around on the platform.
Let’s assume my webinar starts in one hour, and I just realized that I forgot to input the polls for it. If I ask Warren to do something he isn’t comfortable doing, even if I give him clear step-by-step instructions on what to do, the pressures of the deadline are looming and likely making him panic.
I could input the polls less than an hour before a workshop because of my comfort with the platform. Is it reasonable to expect that Warren will be equally as fast?
When we delegate, we must remember that the speed of the first time doing a task and the one-hundredth time of doing a task are incredibly different. Add to the pressure of a looming deadline, and you’ve created a panic-induced setting where Warren’s panic about getting done in time will impact his performance.
Be sure to give a much larger time cushion than you think is necessary. Don’t base the deadline on how fast you can do the task, and double or triple the time you think it should take.
- Micromanaging the Process
There is a difference between training and delegation. If you train someone how to complete a task, you are with them throughout the process, and you are helping them step-by-step.
That is not delegation. When you delegate a task, you give them direction and a description of the end result, but you don’t breathe down their neck or ask them to check in with you every step of the way. You’re delegating because you already trust they can perform the task properly with your instructions. You’re not training them how to do something; you are tasking them with an end result.
If you micromanage the process, you are showing your colleague that you don’t trust them to give you the end result you need.
I picked the list of the top five delegation mistakes because I realize that I am guilty of them at times. I may give perfect directions but then expect the task to be done exactly the way I would do it, or even micromanage it to ensure it is. I know there are times I jump in and fix mistakes or make adjustments, so it is exactly as I would do it. I’ll sometimes rush my team too.
I’m not perfect at delegation. I still think I’m really good, and if I keep my eyes open for the common mistakes, I can stop myself before I make them.