By Stephanie Fritts, Exec Wranglers
“You absolutely cannot grow a business, get promoted, or be a cool parent, and you absolutely will go gray before your time, if you try and do every single little thing by yourself.” —You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero
As a woman of WCA, you are undoubtedly a Badass. But how good are you at delegation? Are you able to parcel out the action items on your plate, so you can feel less stressed, more empowered, and free to finally focus on the other bullet points on your to-do list? How often do you get to set aside the busywork and give your full attention to the bigger picture of what excites you, and what led you to start your venture in the first place? And what about a personal life – remember what it was like to have one of those?!? When was the last time you did something just because it might be fun?
Delegation can be difficult, particularly for us women who are often raised with a knack for picking up all those loose ends without thought or question. We’re also told that if we can do something, we should just go ahead and do it ourselves. So, it can be hard to figure out exactly how to begin letting go.
The first step is deciding what to delegate. Some of it will be obvious, like handing over the tasks you absolutely hate doing— in other words, the administrivia— the tiresome but essential details that must be taken care of and tasks that must be performed in running an organization. After knocking all of that off your plate, consider delegating what you like or don’t mind doing that you’re, at best, only proficient with. For example, maybe you send a newsletter every month to your clients, but it isn’t exactly your greatest joy – it isn’t what gets you up in the morning. Letting someone take over tasks that don’t thrill you will leave you with time to work on what’s in your personal zone of genius – the things you’re great at doing, and that you love to do. If you’re unsure what that may be, try making a list of all you must do and categorize them into the following categories: “zone of genius”, proficiencies, competencies, and incompetencies.
“Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” —Jessica Jackley, Co-founder of Kiva.
There are different levels of delegation you may employ depending on how you like to work and how much you trust your assistant, co-worker, or whoever you’re assigning tasks to. For instance, (1) you may give direct instruction, in which you tell them what to do and how to do it, (2) you may allow them to research and propose their recommendations, (3) you may ask them to handle everything as they see fit, keeping you updated on progress and completion, or (4) you may ask them to take care of it, giving them complete ownership of their work. Obviously, the more you loosen the reins, the more liberated you both will be.
Getting to that point often takes a certain degree of willingness and readiness. Before you end up totally stressed, maxed out, and have no other options but to delegate, begin documenting your processes, so it’s easy for someone to step in and help. When you wait until your time is completely occupied, it’s hard to find space in your schedule to even explain what you need, which can land you in a vicious cycle of frustration and isolation. Delegating based on the principles above can free you up to focus on bringing your best gifts to your business, and to the world!
- Identify the projects you need to delegate.
- Document your processes.
- Let go and focus on what makes you happy.
Stephanie Fritts is the Founder & Chief Exec Wrangler at Exec Wranglers, a virtual assistant services company. They wrangle administrivia for entrepreneurs and executives who are making a difference in the world. Freeing up these impactful leaders from their day-to-day operations allows them to focus on growing their business and enables them to make an even bigger social impact, thus creating a ripple effect of goodwill and humanity in the world. When Stephanie isn’t working or hanging out with her son, she’s rescuing dogs or attending a live music event.