Adonis Diaries

Goodbye perfectionism. Hello “Let go”. How to learn to delegate tasks?

Posted on: October 4, 2011

Goodbye perfectionism. Hello “Let go”. How to learn to delegate?

Why do you have to delegate tasks? What for, and how hard could it be? First, let us read the experience of notesby.me:

How TEDxBeirut taught me to delegate

“I’ve been a perfectionist all my life. If I needed something done right, I’d do it myself.
I’m aware of it. I fight it hard. I lose most of the time. I win sometimes. Because of TEDxBeirut, I think I’m now equipped to win most of the time.

With the sheer amount of work (to prepare) for TEDxBeirut event (on Sept.24), I had no choice but to let go. It worked ‘perfectly’ well. I learned these simple but powerful lessons that hopefully can help you delegate.

1. Brief the team as clearly as you can. Don’t tell them what to do step-by-step. Explain the desired outcome, and the reasoning behind it. This empowers them to own the work and the responsibility.

2. Let go.

3. Let them mess up. Don’t interfere.

4. Let them fix it. Don’t interfere.

5. Let them mess up while fixing it. Don’t interfere.

6. When there isn’t enough time left, take over. Fix it.

7. If there isn’t enough time left for you to fix it, let go. It has passed.

8. Once complete, take a look. Share with the team what you loved about their work. No need to mention what you didn’t like because these might be a result of your perfectionist tendency. With time, the team will maximize what you like, and minimize what you don’t.

I know I was under pressure to let go. You might not have it that easy, but try.
Goodbye perfectionism. Hello letting go.”

There is this pivotal assumption before delegating tasks: The tem members are skilled in their task, and they have been trained to implement the tasks.  Otherwise, why delegate? Why accept unskilled members in the team?

Given that the first assumption is satisfied, it is part of the training process to allow a member to err, to do mistakes.  The question is: Should we permit the member who erred to fix his mistake voluntarily, or we call for a general meeting of “experts” in order to analyze the “performance” of the team members?

Any member should appreciate to receiving feedback on his work, and it has not to be technical in nature.  The team, as a group, has the tendency to err on a large-scale and miss the goal, unless occasional rectifications are implemented. Frequent meetings are essential in keeping the cohesion of the team and redirecting their work. Waiting for “step 6”  in order to interfere and fix the mistake is already too late, if we think that the member is about “to fix it” on a timely manner: A few pointers to the members are in place as they realize their mistake.

When all is done, it is of the past, and what has been achieved is the “best” under the current conditions of methodology and administration. The next event is not from the past, and it should build on the misconceptions and mistakes of the previous ways of “doing business”.

You can have it that easy if you delegate all the way because you are under time pressure: It should not be that easy under any circumstances.

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