Gini Dietrich

Five Tips to Effectively Delegate in the New Year

By: Gini Dietrich | January 7, 2016 | 

Five Tips to Effectively Delegate in the New YearBy Gini Dietrich

A couple of months ago, I read something that John Jantsch wrote that really resonated with me.

He said:

A business owner looks at the work to be done and asks, “How can I get all of this done?” An entrepreneur looks at the same work and ponders, “How can I get someone else to do all of this?”

It was the intro to a blog post about being obsessed with delegation, if you want to scale.

On Tuesday, I mentioned that delegation has been part of my business goals for at least three years now…and I continue to fail miserably at it.

You see, I love doing the work. Not all of it, of course, but I love the metrics and data compilation. I love tinkering with the back-end of websites. I love figuring out challenges clients are having that aren’t typical to the PR professional.

So I do that work.

I also want to be seen as a leader who isn’t afraid to roll up her sleeves and get the work done. And I love doing the more forward-thinking things so I can learn from them and present them as lessons for you here. That isn’t going to end.

Scale, Baby, Scale


The rest of it? It has to end because scale became a big goal for us last year, and continues to be so.

We had 65 percent growth from 2014 to 2015 and we are poised to have 55 percent growth this year.

That’s almost unheard of in a service business—and we have Spin Sucks Pro to thank for it.

“Scale, baby, scale” is the mantra around here and we cannot do it if I focus on things other than vision, culture, client relationships, rainmaking, and money management.

You’ll notice there isn’t anything about communications in that list (though, I can argue staying ahead of the trends for the purpose of this blog and our paid content is part of vision and rainmaking).

You’ll also notice I’m talking myself into it as I write this.

If you are like me, and not great at delegation, but must do it to reach your goals, here are some tips to get there.

Five Tips to Effectively Delegate

When I got married, my mom said to me, “It doesn’t matter how he makes the bed, as long as he makes it.”

I think of that every time I go to effectively delegate. It doesn’t matter that they won’t do it the way you would do it, as long as they get it done, done well, and done on time and on budget.

Also consider the mantra of not allowing perfection to get in the way of finished.

With those two things said, you can effectively delegate by:

  • Going through your to-do list and figure out what only you can do and effectively delegate the rest. Chris Ducker has a list of 101 tasks that can be delegated to someone else.
  • Understanding the strengths (and weaknesses) of your team so you know which tasks you can effectively delegate to whom. There have been times in the past that we have wanted so badly to work with someone that we put them in a position where they absolutely cannot succeed. This is good for no one. Take the time to learn your colleagues work habits.
  • Giving them autonomy by trusting them to do the job. If you micromanage the process and want them to do it a certain way, it won’t work. When Laura Petrolino joined our team, we spent the first six months transitioning day-to-day client responsibilities to her. If a client or a colleague asked me a question, I (not always because it’s hard) would refer them to her. And then, behind the scenes, I would coach her through how to handle it, if it was new to her. Now I barely hear from her (except when she’s trolling me online to entertain all of you).
  • When asked a question about how to do something, always respond with, “What do you think?” I do this to my team and to my coaching clients. It drives everyone crazy, but it teaches them that you trust them and really do want to know what they think. It also teaches them to come to you with solutions versus questions.
  • This last one I am going to quote from a Forbes article because it’s applicable to all of us, “Avoid reverse delegation. Some team members try to give a task back to the manager, if they don’t feel comfortable, or are attempting to dodge responsibility. Don’t accept it except in extreme cases. In the long run, every team member needs to learn or leave.” I know every one of you has experienced this, on both sides. Don’t do it!

In John’s blog post, he recommends a toolkit from Mandi Ellefson. I’ve not checked it out yet so I don’t know if it’s any good, but I will. And if John says to do it, I trust him.

So there you go. What other tips do you have to effectively delegate?

image credit: shutterstock

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!