Why do many entrepreneurs find it difficult to delegate?
Let me introduce the concept of ‘delegated authority’ which is a useful skill for leaders to have. It is the principle behind the process of transferring responsibility for a task to another person. This process sounds simple enough and is a very practical solution for the overworked and overwhelmed, right? Then why do many entrepreneurs have such an extremely hard time delegating work?
We have been taught that in order to achieve more, we have to do more. This can be a very dangerous mindset. It leads us into thinking that “the busier you are, the more you can accomplish.” Therefore, we fall into the trap of doing ‘busy’ work instead of doing ‘high-value’ work.
Busy work makes you feel that you’re actually being productive because you’ve filled your day to the brim with things to do, but you’re really not. You’re confusing being busy with being efficient. If you take stock of the actual work you’ve accomplished, you’d be surprised to see that there is little value to the work you’re doing. Doing busy work can likely lead you to make poor time-management choices. So how do you move away from doing busy work and into doing high-value work?
You learn to prioritise and delegate.
How to identify your high-value activities:
This simple exercise will help you identify which tasks will bring you the most value and which ones can be delegated to others.
Step 1: Divide a piece of paper in half by drawing a line down the middle, lengthwise.
Step 2: Identify an area of your work where you’d like to have better results and less stress. For example, perhaps you want to grow your following by creating quality content.
Step 3: On the left-hand side, list the tasks or activities you do in that area of your work. To create quality content you must do market research, read new articles, look at what your competitors are doing, look for experts in the space, and so on.
Step 4: List down your biggest “wins” in that area on the right hand side, like getting nominated for an award, getting a huge spike in engagement, getting a lot of followers, going viral, being picked up by a reputable media publication, etc. This can often be a difficult step for some people. But this is a personal exercise so it is not the time to be humble. If it feels like a win, it goes on the list. So write it down.
Step 5: Connect each of your biggest wins to the activity or task that was most responsible for that result. For example, doing market research has enabled you to write relevant content that helped you get picked up by a reputable media outlet. Draw a line connecting the two.
Step 6: Now, draw a circle around all the tasks on the left side of your paper that have influenced or are directly responsible for your big wins. What’s left? The tasks that are not circled are the things that you need to either stop doing completely, significantly minimise, or delegate if it absolutely must be done.
This framework can also be used to determine the priorities you set for yourself in other aspects of your life. What this does is: it helps you take a close look at all the busy work that you’ve been doing that is taking up valuable personal resources like time, effort, money, etc. and helps you realise that you can make better use of your valuable time.
This can be challenging for a lot of business owners who have a hard time letting go and delegating tasks. It requires a mindset shift where you shift from “no one else can do this but me” to “I would rather be more essential and less involved.” Effective delegation is skill learned by competent leaders who know that they have to create enough mental space to focus on activities that can help them grow their business instead of being involved in every part of it.
Here’s how delegated authority can be done effectively.
You can hire a virtual assistant to take the load off you so you can direct your focus on essential work. Tasks like checking email, coordinating appointments, creating social posts, updating the website, or doing layout work can be delegated to a competent virtual assistant. Instead of saying “this is exactly how I want it done”, it could be more beneficial to explain the results you want to get out of the activity. Provide enough context. This will reframe the task and your virtual assistant will be free to explore options and creative ways to come up with a solution instead of doing the exact same thing you do over and over. Show them you trust them to get the work done, then sit back and give them room to shine.
You can be more productive by doing less, it is just a matter of learning how to delegate. Ask us how our superstar VAs can provide administrative support to free you up for essential and productive work. Book a call for your free consultation!