Are You Solving the Right Problems?
It is so common when we are trying to get out the door after a long day of problems only to get caught near the door by yet another person with yet another problem. It is so easy to jump in to solve that one more problem. But, is that really the best way to handle the situation? We can so easily get distracted from our real job by all the problems. Our job is to direct others so that they can solve the problems. We need to recognize which details and problems are important and which need to be delegated. We must not get too busy to lead.
Business is full of problems and details. Anyone who has started a business or has rebuilt a department knows that there are lots and lots of details that need to be handled. However, there are details where you have already solved the major problem and your strengths can be better used elsewhere. Whenever possible, we do best to delegate instead of handling these details ourselves.
Delegating is not simply shifting work from our desk to theirs. Instead it is about moving work that we should not be doing to those who could benefit from doing it. Often, the person will need training, learning, and encouragement to be able to do the work.
Also, we need to watch how we react to problems brought to us. Many times, the wrong problems are brought up first. Many a medical doctor knows that the real problems will come up at the end of the exam and not at the start. In status meetings, problems often are not brought up until we really dig for them. Likewise, when walking into a new consultation, the client often brings up smaller problems just to see how the consultant will react and only later, bring up the real issues.
One issue with delegating is that often, the hardest thing to do is to let go of something that you have done and where you have feelings about how well it should be done. People who have been in control of everything have a hard time letting anyone else do any of that work.
Delegating work is a hard action. When we are too busy, it is hard to identify what to delegate. But our job is to move the business forward. Nearly everything else can be delegated or farmed out to those who can spend more time doing it right.
Any task that is repeatable is one that can be delegated. The first time, often we are figuring out what needs to be done. The next time, we can define the task for someone else to do it.
Our job it to make the business run well enough that we can leave and it doesn't fall apart. That means delegating to people such that they can pick up and run with the tasks. That leaves us to do the very important work of identifying the vision for the business and communicating the direction to take.
When we are leading, then the delegated work is done well enough to move the company forward and we can praise and thank the person for helping.
Let us delegate as much as we can so that we can do the important work.