THE BLOG
06/09/2014 03:30 pm ET | Updated Aug 09, 2014

How to Quit Hogging and Delegate

Perhaps you don't want to add anymore to someone else's plate. So, you do whatever needs to be done without asking for help. Maybe you don't trust someone else to do it right? So you keep taking on more and more. It might be that you don't know how to delegate successfully...so you hog all the opportunities yourself.

That's what hogs do. Gobble up all the juicy, fun, satisfying bits. Instead, what if you allowed the people who work with you the opportunity to make a few mistakes, learn a few lessons and notch up some wins? To do that, you delegate.

Along with Balance Sheet 101, and Business Planning 101, we should teach Delegation 101 in 6th grade. If you share opportunities (aka problems and challenges), everyone wins. Your team grows and develops - skills, confidence - and you have time to plan and grow your business.

"A problem is a chance for you to do you best." ~ Duke Ellington

Opportunities are born when you fall in a hole or run into a problem. First, deal with the immediate issue. Then, consider...is this a blue-moon event or do we need to do something to keep us from falling into this hole again? Suppose you have a landscaping company. For the thousandth time you have reached for the weed whacker and it has been lost, broken, or put somewhere other than where you want it to be. You could come uncorked - again - or you could write, "Create Tool Check Out Procedure," on a Master Projects list.

Encourage team members to add to the Master Project list. They know what isn't working and your best hope for getting problems solved.

For each project, use the classic Journalistic Questions to delegate successfully.

Why? Have a good reason for why it needs to be done. "It's frustrating to be 100 miles from the shop and not have a weed whacker on your truck."

What? Describe, as best you can, what this project would look like when it's done. Most often, a project is done when you have a written checklist/procedure for making sure that the problem doesn't keep happening. "Tools are accounted for, cared for properly and where we need them. All team members have been trained on, and are held accountable to, the written procedure."

Who? Assign the project to someone. Or, ask for a volunteer. Communicate that project management skills are taken into consideration when auditioning team members for promotions. Call this person the Project Leader. You may assign a few team members to the project. The Project Leader is responsible for the outcome.

How much? Meet to discuss the project with the Project Leader. How much time, energy and resources will be needed?

When? What's the time frame? When is the next meeting to check progress? When is the finished project due?

How? There are no bonus points for making a molehill project a mountainous event. Always aim for simple solutions. When you assign the project, discuss and clarify expectations. Then, let the Project Leader loose.

Then, manage, but don't take over, the project. You don't want to come to the end of the project and be deeply disappointed by the results. So, determine what kind of management will be required to make sure you stay in communication and aware of the progress of the project. Set the Project Leader up to win, and you win. Use meeting time to brainstorm solutions if they get stuck.

Celebrate the win! When it is done, acknowledge it. "We now have the right tools at the right place at the right time. Kudos to the Project Leader and his team!" If you have included a bonus or a spiff for the successful completion of the project, deliver it with a handshake, a thank you and public recognition.

When you find yourself hogging the opportunities, correct yourself. Inspire them with your vision. They already know the problems and opportunities. So, hand 'em a project.

"I must follow them. I am their leader." - Andrew Bonar Law