By Danielle Ezell – Consultant, The Mettise Group

Do you frequently take work home or work late?

Does your team function smoothly when you aren’t there?

Do you over-rule or reverse decision made by team members?

Do you do some things your team members could be doing?

When you return from a trip, is there a big pile in your inbox?

Do you spend time on details that you would rather spend on planning & supervision?

If these questions make you uncomfortable, delegation probably isn’t something you’re doing well. Don’t give up hope though; delegation is a skill that you can learn even if you’re an obsessive compulsive, Type-A, control freak.

For those of us that obsess about every detail and have outworked our peers throughout our careers, trusting others to do tasks we are ultimately responsible for is a nerve-wrecking proposition. We cling to projects, obsess about quality, belittle others’ work, and the whole time complain about how many hours we’re working. Eventually the behavior that has served you so well most of your career will stop you from further advancement.

Great leaders learn to delegate and trust their direct reports. When they say “I’m only as good as my team,” they believe it. Do you?

There is hope. Delegation can be learned and it gets easier the more often you do it. Think o it like exercise – it’s hard at first, but after a very short time you actually begin to enjoy it and see the benefits!

Start small. Follow the steps below on an easy-to-delegate task to practice your delegation skills.

Step How it Sounds
State your need for help I need your help…
Say why you are asking this person versus someone else You’re my most competent and organized coder
Ask for acceptance Would you be willing to take over the monthly statistical report prep?
Describe the task Here’s what’s involved….
State the deadline and quality standards It has to be turned in to Peggy by the last Friday of the month, so I’ll need it by Wednesday to review. It must be 100% error-free when we send it on to Peggy.
Discuss Reporting standards I’d like you to give me an update each Tuesday, and in the beginning, I’ll want to see the work you have done to ensure we’re on track.
Discuss Skill/Training Needs What do you need from me in order to do this? What can I show you or share with you to make this go smoothly?

Danielle Ezell facilitates Leadership Posses for The Mettise Group and serves as a consultant on various projects. She is a certified Senior Professional in Human Resources and has her Accreditation in Public Relations.