3 Ways To Delegate, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard

kiteHave you ever worked on a project, from the ground up, and helped to develop it and played a constant role in every nook and cranny of the production? You were there when it was born and you participated in its development into a thriving, living creature. Your blood, sweat and tears were poured into it. It became your identity. You were the person people would go to for questions. You took on full responsibility and ownership for issues that arose. You helped everyone else understand how it functioned, but yet you still clung on to it as your own, because you were not quite ready to let go and trust that it would be fine without you…


Over the last year, I have been blessed with an amazing coworker who stepped into the scene with a vibrancy, quality to work and dedication to the cause that I greatly admire. With her help, I have been able to take the one woman show that I worked on from the ground up and make it into an incredible double feature, which has not only helped lessen the stress of my daily work load but has also helped the customer service representatives by giving them another resource to go to for assistance when I’m not available.

But, it wasn’t easy. 

Because a lot of the training was hands on (there were no manuals to read or classes to take), I learned from experience. And, I didn’t document this experience because well, I didn’t know how. Or, I didn’t have time to. Either way, I just flat out didn’t do it. So, trying to take what was in my head and put it into document to help someone else understand it was a lengthy process, especially since with this project, there are many layers.

However, as I write this, I think that I didn’t document, delegate or train others because I wanted to claim the crown and be the almighty leader in the project. I needed something to be “mine”; something to define and shape my role at work because I felt lost not having one speciality. Even if this meant longer hours, more stress and unnecessary extra work, I would do what I could to make sure it’s done. And, done right. Plus, if I delegated this project to others, I’d lose my speciality and wouldn’t have anything to define myself by.

Silly and selfish, right? How can a good leader empower others with this kind of attitude?

Letting go isn’t as simple as flying a kite. But, like any good leader/parent/teacher/mentor, we must allow our projects to fly to new levels and the only way we can do that is by loosening the grasp.

3 Ways To Delegate, Even When It’s Really, Really Hard

Take Baby Steps

  • Don’t give your work over in one big lump; plan it out! Start with the easier tasks first.
  • Delegate gently by taking time out of your day to train them properly. Allow your teammate(s) to feel empowered and prepared for the work ahead.

Define and Share Your Vision and Goals

  • If you want the teammate to understand what’s behind this project, share your clearly defined vision and goals for the project.
  • As time goes on, be open to new goals presented to you by your teammate. They may see something that you never did before and this perspective can make all the difference.

Develop Trust

  • Through each baby step you take, you’ll know right away if the teammate is right for the job. Watch how they respond to various tasks and continue to check in to make sure that the process is working for them.
  • When you see tasks are completed successfully over and over, you will begin to trust in the fact that you are handing off the tasks to the right person.

So, while this isn’t my 100% goodbye to the task, I still will be overseeing the project, but the majority of the daily upkeep is now in the hands of my amazing teammate. With her help, I can now step back and focus on ways to improve the system, successfully educate the team and just make this task the best darn well oiled machine it can be. I’m not perfect and will still have my moments of leadership challenges, but I guess that’s what keeps things interesting, right?


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