Delegating a Task

"My husband never helps me."

"Have you asked him specifically what he can do to help?"

"No, he should just know what needs to be done."

This is a typical conversation I have had many times. People complaining of not getting help, but never asking for help.

Another scenario I see is people wanting help, but have control issues. They give a task, but it’s not done exactly how they want it done. So they take the task back and complain that no one helps them. Or they ask for help and then nag and criticize over the person’s shoulder the whole time. And they wonder why no one jumps to help them.

Delegating is tricky for the ego. It someone else can do the work, that means you aren’t indespensible. If someone says no – does that mean they don’t care for you? What if if gets done wrong and you are blamed. What if they do it better than you? Eeks.

But, learning to delegate is necessary in a simplified life. If you do everything will you have time for the things you really want to do?

So how do you actually delegate?

Step 1: Figure out what you don’t really like to do and what you don’t do as well. List these items.

Step 2: Look at each task. Decide who to delegate to: someone at work, your family, a neighbor, a virtual assistant, someone online ( ). Keep in mind a person’s skill set and personality.

Step 3: Observe yourself next time you do the task and write down the "how to".

Step 4: Communicate clearly to the person you want to delegate to. Make sure they know the time frame, the how to, and how they will let you know they are done. Written communication is better the first time around. If you can show them, that would be even better. And give them the purpose of the task and let them know its importance. No one wants what they think of as busy work.

Step 5: If it is a bigger project, create mini-deadlines so neither of you procrastinate.

Step 6: Ask them for input. Be willing to listen to them – they might know a better way to do the task. Ask them if they understanding and for any questions.

Step 7: Write the date you said you need it by in your calendar/planner. If you need status reports, write those dates in the planner. If the person hasn’t responded that day, follow up with them immediately.

Step 8: When you get the task back, check on it. Let them know what they did right. Show them what they can do next time differently. And keep tweaking until it is how you want it. (Just be careful you aren’t being a control freak).

Being clear with your expectations will make delegating so much easier.