Often when we think about delegation, we think about technical aspects, like how to communicate clearly what’s expected, or when and how to follow-up, or a myriad of other specifics.

While all of those skills are important to learn, your delegation efforts will fall short if you don’t address your own mindset first.

What do I mean by your mindset? There are times we accidently fall into thinking that the people we’re delegating to are not capable, not experienced enough, or not smart enough. When we do that, we diminish them, and we make it much harder to delegate successfully. What I’ve observed when this happens to leaders is, they over-explain the theory behind a task, or spend far too long going into details about how the thing should be done. Is this really delegation?

Notice how differently things go if you have the opposite mindset, where you fully believe in how capable your people are. When you have no doubts, then you can stop telling them how to do the thing, or go into really superfluous explanations, but rather spend all the time you need on the “why.” Why is this an important task? What impact will the successful completion of this task have on the organization or your customers?

When you are not filled with fear or dread, you can paint a vivid picture of why this task matters and the person doing the work will be filled with inspiration and excitement, rather than fear of letting you down and worry about you undermining them.

The other part of mindset to note is that if you have to do your team member’s job, why do you pay them? While it might seem easier sometimes to just do the work yourself, please keep this question in mind and ask it of yourself often. Why does this person work here? What’s in it for me? If that’s an easy question to answer, then delegation will be easy. If it’s hard for you to answer, you don’t have a delegation problem. You have a people problem.

If you’d like to talk over a people or a delegation problem, please get in touch tsarvata@assuredstrategy.com

Ted Sarvata