A quick delegation skills lesson from a 15 year old

Here's a quick delegation skills lesson inspired by my 15 year old daughter Abigail.

The key points are:

  • Make sure that the person you're delegating to knows what you want and by when
  • Focus on the results more than the method. It's possible that your team-mate can work out a more efficient method
  • If the results aren't up to scratch then you may have to give some training/coaching


I want to share with you a bit of a story with a very important management and delegation skills lesson behind it. And it was inspired by my 15 year old daughter Abigail, who is with washing dishes in our house because our kitchen is really small and we don't have a dishwasher.

So, the other day I noticed a particular place hadn't been washed that well. So I pointed this out to Abigail and she said, look, if you want it done your way to your standards, then do it yourself.

And I said to a look, it doesn't matter how you get it done as long as everything is clean and we're able to eat off the plates.

But it got me thinking because there's a bit of a management and delegation skills lesson here, because many of us have people who work for us.

If we're managing or we run a small business, we'll have folks who we give work to.

Learn to let go of the 'how'

And one of the biggest challenges when you run a small business or you are a manager is to let go of certain things. And one of those things is how the work gets done.

You see, when we do a job and we know we do it in a particular method to get a particular result, we seem to think that when we get that work to somebody else they're going to do it in exactly the same way.

And it can be very frustrating for a manager to see somebody doing a particular job that you may have done for quite some time doing it differently. Now, I would say, okay, that's great. But it can be frustrating for you to begin with.

The key thing is getting the results you want

As long as when you get work over to people they know exactly what you expect to what standard and what time, the how it gets done doesn't really matter as long as it gets done.

And this is one of the most challenging things for a manager, especially when people have recently become managers, is to make sure that you delegate effectively.

So there's few key things to consider here.

A delegation skills lesson that everyone can get to grips with from Auckland Marketing Club

If what you're aiming to do depends on a particular process then, of course, the staff need to learn that particular process. If it has to be done in a particular way to get a particular result, then make sure they know it and that they can do it. Spend the time doing some training if needed because if it takes the task off your plate it will save a huge amounts.

Also focus on results if the work isn't dependent upon the process. If the work or methodology for getting it done doesn't necessarily have to be done in a particular way focus on results.

It goes like this: here's what I want, here's what it needs to look like and this is when I want it done by. That is the key to good delegation.

It can be uncomfortable at first but spend the time getting good at this.

You should never fall into the temptation to take the task back because you could do it better and faster yourself.

Give the work over and leave them to get on with it.

If they're still struggling, coach them but ultimately delegation will save you hours, hundreds, possibly thousands of hours if you get good at it.

Delegation should enable you to focus on the things that only you should be doing.

Want to get more done? Check out:

How to beat perfectionism with a ‘good enough’ approach (blog post & podcast)

Why you should get into automation in your business (Youtube video)

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