The HOW trap is one of the biggest problems people growing their own firm come across. Some learn how to delegate, grow their firm and have a life; others learn how not to delegate.Getting more from your team by thinking about how not to delegate

The advantages of delegation

Successful delegation means a member of your team “owns” some areas of responsibility and gets on with them. Some of the time you’ve just released can be used for other areas of growing your firm.

What’s more (and you may not want to hear this) they might find a better way of doing it than you! If you’ve done your delegating well, your team should be more motivated and energised as a result. So, if delegation works that well it’s wroth knowing how not to delegate!

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What is the HOW trap?

The HOW trap is when we tell people how to do the job we just gave them and think we have delegated it. It often happens with highly skilled professionals; they believe their way is right and quicker, so their team should do it the same way. Telling somebody HOW to do a task means they don’t engage with it in the same way, they don’t “own” it and all they are doing is following your instructions; it’s a good example of how not to delegate.

If you want to your team member to own the role, they need to decide and learn how they will get the task done. Your role is to talk about WHAT, not HOW. “WHAT” is a leadership word. “WHAT” is about roles, direction, rationale and purpose. Two critical words to improve team performance goes into more depth on this.

4 tips on how not to delegate

  1. Tell them exactly how to do the task. Telling them HOW, is not delegating. There are times you may to do this, but you’re just passing on tasks. That means you still need to manage each task, and haven’t really saved any time.
  2. Don’t tell them why it’s important. Any form of influence is like selling. If your team member doesn’t understand how important the role is, they won’t act like it’s important, or realise how much trust you’ve just given them.
  3. Keep control by checking up in minute detail every day. Delegation requires trust to fully let go of a responsibility. The trouble is that business owners often don’t like to feel they have lost control of a task, so they micro-manage. This wastes the owner’s time, and demotivates (or worse) your team.
  4. Don’t empower, just tell. Just tell them to get on with the job, and moan when it wasn’t done the way you wanted (but neglected to tell them). A better version would be to, include people in the delegation process. Empower them to decide what tasks are to be delegated to them and when. One result you want is more motivated staff!

What’s the worst delegation mistake you’ve ever seen?

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Delegation done right.

Your real aim is to release your time, and have a more motivated team. Download our free 6 page e-book on how to delegate more effectively , it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).

Written by Jon Baker The 5-50 Coach. I help professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably, profitably and still have fun. Have you got your "next step kitbag yet"? It's stuffed with guides, reports & templates helping you grow from 5 to 50 employees Click here for immediate access

For some real delegation tips download our free 6 page e-book on how to delegate more effectively , it's free and waiting for you to download right nowClick here for instant access (email address required).