One of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to leading. For business owners, it can be scary to entrust someone else with tasks and responsibilities that you had always done. But, in order to grow, we must learn to delegate. These tips are our top 4 suggestions we give to clients when starting to work with an assistant. We put this list together not only with research, but more importantly, based on past experience.
You’ve made the decision to delegate and you’re excited to have some things taken off your plate. Your assistant or employee is excited too and probably eager to help. However, in order to make things manageable for everyone, it’s helpful to start with 1-3 tasks and grow from there. This will be beneficial to you as you are learning to delegate and also beneficial to your assistant so they don’t feel overwhelmed. Starting slow will also facilitate optimal communication and managing expectations.
Be Specific and Patient
We know that you’re busy and it might seem tedious to take the time to plan out your tasks with detailed instructions, but we promise it will pay off in the end. Taking time in the beginning to be specific and detailed eliminates confusion on your assistant’s end. If you plan to delegate to a Virtual Assistant, they will likely already be organized, efficient, and detail-oriented. But they still need direction to get started. Determine the best course of communication, whether it be a comprehensive email, 30-60 minute phone call, or some combination of both, to make sure you’re both on the same page and your assistant has everything they need to get started. For the first few tasks, provide instructions and how you want them to be completed. Once the assistant has a handle on those tasks, you can move onto the next ones on your list.
Delegate The Entire Task + Assign Responsibility and Authority
These tips work hand in hand and come from personal experience with a client. When you’re new to delegating, one of the most challenging parts can be handing over full responsibility. When you give your assistant a task or project, assign the whole thing to them and put them in charge from start to finish. This helps alleviate a long, drawn out timeline because they’re waiting on you to provide information or do your part. Give your assistant full control and if it’s time sensitive, set a realistic deadline. If there’s things that they need from you, make sure to provide the proper tools needed for them to complete the task.
Stay Appropriately Engaged
No one likes to be micromanaged. However, your assistant or employee shouldn’t be completely ignored once the task is given, either. Say engaged with check-in calls, emails, and texts on a weekly basis. Keep the lines of communication open, but don’t hover. Many of our clients find it most successful to schedule a check-in call once per week with their assistant. From there, communication can remain via email and text. Once the first couple of projects are completed, have a meeting with your assistant to discuss the process and what was effective, as well as areas of improvement.
The key to successful delegation is open communication. By following our tips above and setting expectations beforehand, it won’t be as challenging and you’ll be wishing you delegated sooner.