You’re smart, you’re gifted, and you’re self-assured. You dot your i’s, you cross your t’s, and you’ve got pride and a work ethic that’s second to none. In fact, when you put your mind to something, your work is always outstanding. So I completely understand why you believe “the only way to get things done right is to do them myself.” BUT … if you’re a control freak, and prefer not to delegate, you may be hurting yourself in ways you’ve never imagined.
Sure … when you do things yourself, you won’t have to worry about whether they’re done properly. And you’ll feed your ego and may even save some money during the process. But, if you’re tired, are you making the best decisions? If you’re overworked, are you depriving your family of quality time? And although you do a good job, is it possible that an “expert” can do it even better? It’s a fallacy to think that being a control freak provides the best outcome. The reality is, although the costs of not delegating may be invisible, the price that you pay is real.
It Pays to Delegate
Increase your value. What portion of your workday is spent doing high-level versus routine activities? If you spend significant time doing tedious work, when you’re capable of so much more, you’re not doing yourself any favors.
Grow your service business. As you grow your business, you’ll reach a point where there aren’t enough hours in the day to serve your clients on your own. If you don’t “clone” yourself, you’ll leave your clients with the choice of waiting in line for you or going to a competitor.
Get a life. You’re so good at your job that people have become dependent on you. Before you know it, you’re working evenings and weekends to keep everyone happy. If you don’t find a way to off-load some work, there’ll come a time when you’ll resent your job. It’s time to get a life.
Increase family time. Why hire a contractor if you can do the work yourself, right? The truth is, while you may be saving money, your loss of quality time with your family may be a high price to pay.
Gain expertise. With today’s software, it’s easy to prepare your own taxes. The problem is, with laws constantly changing you may be overlooking something that costs you dearly. (And you thought you were saving money.) The lesson here is that even though you’re able to do something doesn’t mean you should. Sometimes it makes sense to hire a professional.
Boost your career. Some folks believe that making themselves indispensable enhances their career. So, with an eye on a promotion, they hoard information and keep everything close to the vest. The problem is, with no one able to fill their role, they’re creating a significant barrier to their own advancement.
Leverage your talent. As you work your way up the organizational ladder, your performance is measured more by what gets accomplished than by what you personally do. So don’t try to do everything yourself. Instead, hire great people, train them well, eliminate barriers to success, inspire them to reach their potential, and get out of their way.
Every time you do something, you’ve chosen not to do something else. So, do the things that matter to you, and find other ways to get the rest of it done.
It’s Time to Let Go and Delegate
Here are some rules worth considering:
Surround yourself with great talent. Then blame yourself if no one can do a task as well as you. How’s that for rule #1!
Leave your comfort zone. If you don’t feel comfortable delegating, you’re not alone. It’s hard to try something new. Think about it this way … if we didn’t try to walk, we’d all still be crawling.
Know what matters most. Set priorities and determine which trade-offs are right for you.
Build trust. Surround yourself with people who possess a high level of trust and integrity.
Manage the process. Focus on the process as much as on the end result. And make sure to consider strengths and weaknesses when assigning work.
Be explicit about goals and expectations. Tell people your ultimate goal rather than micromanaging how they do it. Who knows … they may come up with a better way of accomplishing what you want.
Set milestones. Delegating does not mean walking away from an activity until it’s complete. Establish key milestones and review progress along the way.
Delegate responsibility and authority. It isn’t enough to delegate a task. Give the person the responsibility and authority to get it done.
Set the right tone. Create an environment in which dialog is open, questions are encouraged, and mistakes become part of a learning experience.
Give continual feedback. Remember, there’s a difference between criticism and constructive feedback.
Recognize and reward excellence. Give credit where credit is due. Compliment people in public; criticize them in private.
Being in Control Is an Illusion
When was the last time you questioned whether or not being a control freak makes sense? On the one hand, control freaks are motivated by the thought of achieving perfection and on the other hand, by the fear of letting go. By attempting to control everything, however, the only thing control freaks guarantee is the potential to drive themselves crazy, and in the process, to lose quality family time, perform inferior work compared to an “expert,” limit the size of their business, or damage their chance for a promotion. All of that in the name of perfection!
We can’t control fate, the weather, or the height of our kids. And believe it or not, the sun continues to rise and set every day without our help. So, whether you’re a parent, boss, or do-it-yourselfer, maybe it’s time to show some trust and faith in other people –– and delegate. Who knows … if you surround yourself with great people, you’ll probably get great results. As the saying goes, “You may not be able to control every situation and its outcome, but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it.” It’s time to delegate.
Do You Delegate?
Please leave a comment and tell us what you think or share it with someone who can benefit from the information.
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Are You Sabotaging Your Success?
Are You Inflexible and Stuck in Your Ways?
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Anita Stout says
You’re absolutely right Frank about the consequences not showing up immediately. Your advice is especially important for parents to heed.
I have 6 children. When they were small life was often chaotic. It seemed “doing it all myself” was easier and quicker than delegating and being patient through the learning process. As a result I not only wore myself out but I also crippled my children by not trusting them to be able to handle things for themselves.
The consequences showed up much later when they had to learn to do things that they should have already become proficient at and more importantly it undermined their feeling of competence.
We don’t only cripple ourselves when we try to control everything, we stunt the growth of others and I think that may even be the sadder part.
Thanks for another great article!
Frank Sonnenberg says
You’re providing a very important lesson.
Parents want what’s best for their kids. So, we do things for them rather than allowing them to learn from their mistakes and become self-sufficient. I’m sure many, many parent share your experience. “As a result I not only wore myself out but I also crippled my children by not trusting them to be able to handle things for themselves.” As I often say, helping people too much only makes them helpless.
Thanks so much for furthering the conversation!
Have an awesome day!