Podcast 109: Delegating

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Hi, gang! It’s almost the end of the year. I’ve been doing this podcast for two and a half years now. When I look at my stats I see that people are listening to the whole thing! Excellent. I purposely make it short and cut out the fluff so you won’t want to turn it off.

I’m also excited about how many great reviews and ratings I have on itunes. I’m up to 103 ratings, almost all five star, and 24 reviews. Whee! I came up with a sentence that summarizes the podcast that’s ready for you to tweet.

Here it is: Short, do-able tips to manage your time, your stuff and Organize your Life with Clutter Coach Claire #organize #timemanagement #productivity. I am @ClaireTompkins on Twitter. You can find this in the show notes on my blog if you want to copy it from there. Thanks in advance! Okay, onward.

This is podcast 109 and it’s about delegating. Delegating is a critical skill to master if you want to get ahead in your career. It means many things. It means clearly and concisely handing off jobs to employees and mentoring them to work independently and not micromanage them.

If you’re self employed, it could mean hiring a virtual assistant to free up your time for higher level planning and strategizing that only you can do, or purchasing content for your website. At home, it could mean paying people to do things for you such as cleaning, or, my favorite, get the kids to start pitching in at home, not only to give you more time, but to teach them important life skills, even if they break a few dishes along the way.

Delegation is often mentioned as not only one of the most important skills to learn, but one of the most difficult. That’s because it involves soft skills such as trust and releasing control. It gets into fuzzy areas that make people worry about not being valued at work, or losing credibility and respect.

People understandably can get attached to specific jobs that they do. They’re proud of their work and get kudos for it. Then they get that longed for promotion and now they’re thrown into a new pond with new tasks they haven’t mastered and little of the comforting feelings of accomplishment they used to enjoy.

This ownership of a job and reluctance to let it go can bleed into perfectionism. That’s when you are convinced that no one will do a job as well as you can, so you need to keep doing it. The truth is, the first part may be correct, but you still have to let it go. Certainly no one will do it the way you do. But when release control, you may discover that the job gets done in a new, creative way that might even be better than what you used to do.

Lack of delegation holds up the whole parade. It wastes time and overworks the folks who don’t delegate and frustrates the ones who could be delegated to.

To illustrate what I mean and to offer a bit of comic relief, listen to what’s happening down on the farm.

Howdy, Farm Hand Joe! Welcome to the farm. I see you’re ready to do the plowin’. You look plenty strong. But I ain’t decided which field to plant yet, so you can’t plow.

Howdy do, Farm Hand Jill! I know you want to get started cultivatin’ the soil. That’s what I hired ya for. But I ain’t showed you how to do it yet and by golly it’s just easier to do it ma-self.

Well, hey there, Farm Hand Sarah! I know you got the know-how to plant the seeds. That’s mighty fine. But I cain’t give you any seeds till I set down and figure out what to plant.

Our poor farm hands are left to sit on their hands while Farmer Dave struggles to keep the farm going pretty much by himself. That don’t make no sense!

What you can do right now: look around for places in your life, either at work or at home, where you could be delegating tasks that are taking you away from more important jobs, that someone else needs to be mentored to do, or that another person might even do better. Remember that nothing is perfect and you aren’t the ruler of the Universe and that’s a good thing!

Happy holidays and see you next year!