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Fight the Myth of "If you want it done right, do it yourself".

Updated: Apr 21

Do you live by the saying, "If you want something done right, do it yourself."? Most individuals who have experienced success based on their own individual efforts struggle to transition to delegating tasks to others.

4 steps to delegating

This can be rooted in various beliefs. You may feel training others to do tasks correctly will take too long. You could be anxious about the cost of hiring great talent. You may also see your self-worth linked to what you produce and be uncomfortable taking on the manager role.

No matter the beliefs that are getting in the way of your delegating, deep down, you know the only way to scale your business is by reducing the number of tasks you are personally doing and investing time, money, and effort into building your organization's competencies.

Micromanaging versus effective delegating

Frequently, people who manage others opt for micromanaging instead of delegating. Micro-managing allows you to stay close to the work and leverage the hands of others without engaging their minds.

While micromanaging can allow you to get things done, it restricts your growth, leads to burnout, and contributes to employee turnover. Micromanaging is harmful because it does not engage the full person. It will lead you to treat employees like machines to be programmed and directed instead of humans who are resourceful, creative, and able to add incremental value to projects.

Instead of micromanaging, you can de-stress your life and expand your organization's potential by investing in delegation. Effective delegation is the key to growing the talent around you, working fewer hours, and achieving organizational goals. A disciplined approach to empowering employees can create a learning organization that builds new skills and competencies through continuous improvement. There are four steps to effective delegations.

The time you spend executing these steps will reduce your need to micromanage and increase your comfort in delegating. Allowing you to dedicate more of your time to activities that bring you greater fulfillment, are more strategic, and generate sustainable growth for your organization.

Pick the right people for the right jobs

In his book Good to Great, author Jim Collins highlights the importance of having the right people in the right seats on the bus. This is essential to the success of any company. Your most important role as a leader is to surround yourself with talented people who can help you accomplish your company’s goals.

The first step in this process is to clarify what you are looking to accomplish and define the skills and experience that you believe are necessary for success. Once you do this, you can identify who can best support you in executing this initiative.

It is important to pick the right person to do a task. You want to identify someone with the will and skill necessary to succeed. If you currently do not have someone on your team who has the desired skill, then your focus has to be on adding additional people to your team or developing the skills of a current member who has the potential to grow in capabilities. Remember, team members do not have to be employees. Hiring contract workers, virtual assistants, or consultants are all great ways of expanding the capabilities of your team.

Define the task

Once you have selected the right people to work on an initiative, the next role of a leader is to define the task you want to complete. Start by linking the task with your company’s purpose. It is important to show people how the work they are being asked to do connects with the company's overall goals. This can help the employees to understand why the work you are asking them to do is important.

After making this connection, outline your expectations around the task. Communicate your desired end state. Clearly define what success will look like and when you expect the employee or team to deliver against that expectation.

Provide an opportunity for your employees to ask clarifying questions about the desired end state and the path from where they are today to where you want them to go. The time you spend upfront aligning on goals and the employees' path to achieve goals will reduce the number of questions you receive later in the process.

Provide parameters

Next, work with your employees to define the parameters for completing the task. You want to be clear in defining milestones, budgets, available resources, and any other constraints that would influence employees' actions.

You reduce uncertainty by aligning with employees upfront on what is permitted and what is not. The more clarity employees have on your expectations, the easier it will be for them to comply. You should document goals and parameters and verify that your employees understand their roles and responsibilities. This will prevent later questions about roles, responsibilities, expectations, and parameters.

Sometimes, employees understand what is expected but do not comply. When this happens, your focus should be on understanding what is getting in the way of the employee's success. Identifying competing priorities, skill gaps, mental blocks, and other obstacles will help you work with the employee to find solutions that support them in meeting expectations.

Monitor results

The final step in the delegation process is defining how and when you will touch base with your employees regarding progress. By defining and communicating milestones, you and your employees understand where projects should be at specific time periods.

This can reduce stress and drive accountability because employees know what to accomplish and when. If an employee is off track at the time of check-ins, you can provide course correcting advice to get them back on track.

If they have a problem they can not solve independently, you can conduct a root-cause analysis and help them identify solutions. Root-cause analysis may help you identify whether additional time, money, skills, people, or resources are needed to accomplish the given goal.


Time is your scarcest resource, and you can never get it back again once it is gone. As a leader, you must value your time and ensure that you allocate it in ways that benefit your organization most. The more time you spend doing things that only you can do and that are your strengths, the more of a positive impact you can make on your organization.

As the top person in your organization, you see things that no one else sees and can do things that no one else can do. You provide the most value when you can think strategically, selectively dig into details when needed, and coach, train, and develop your team to build their competencies.

Organizations are stronger when they leverage their employees' hearts, minds, and bodies. The best way to tap into the endless potential of your employees is to teach, train, and trust them to do the work that you hired them to do. Building a high-functioning team takes time and effort. The investment you make into selecting the right talent, defining the task, setting parameters, and monitoring progress will help you achieve more while feeling less overwhelmed.



Thank you for reading this blog

Executive Coach Dorian Cunion

Dorian Cunion is an Executive Coach and Business Consultant with Your Path Coaching and Consulting. He is a former retail executive with over 20 years of experience in the retail industry. He is a Co-Active coach who focuses on helping professionals and small business owners overcome insecurities, knowledge gaps, and lack of direction. He does this by assisting clients to tap into their values, recognize their strengths, and develop actionable strategies for growth.

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