No More Old-School Thinking. Delegate!
While we are busy helping our clients live a more efficient, happier life, if we aren't prepared, we can become vulnerable to overwhelm by details large to small in running our practice. In today's post I am going to share tips for when and how to delegate tasks to your team. Don't have a team yet? Stay with me. It's all part of this professional development article.
In the old-school way of thinking, if you can do it yourself, you should do it yourself. Not any longer. By keeping your hands in all of the day-to-day details, you are actually keeping yourself from helping everyone who needs you. What's more, you risk burn out and certainly sacrifice the lifestyle of freedom you dreamed of, when you began your practice.
Some coaches are afraid to delegate because they feel it means letting go of control over quality or process. That was my issue for a long time. And then I realized, until I learn to let others excel at their God-given talents by supporting me, I would never be free to completely fulfill God's plan for my life.
Others are afraid of the cost involved. It is minimal in many cases and I will address it later in this article.
This may surprise you, but as a people-helping professional, you need to be able to pull back from daily operations to think, review and assess. Don't ever let yourself get so busy, you miss this part of your day. Delegation will allow you to make space for this.
As a coach, you need to allow yourself time to do nothing but think. These are uninterrupted times when your thoughts and dreams can free-flow to potential projects, books, strategies, tactics, networking opportunities, business-building and increasing your service to the world. In fact, I suggest you block out a minimum of 15 minutes per day for thinking. Doing this at the end of your time with the Lord each morning would be ideal since you will enter your thinking time already inspired and peaceful.
Once your ideas start taking shape, include additional time to let them incubate and grow.
But speaking as someone who always has far more ideas than I have time to execute, something had to give. I had to learn how to make space to get these projects underway and completed. Enter the concept of delegation.
I have learned quite a bit along the way. I realized that no one would ever do a job exactly the same as I would and that's OK. A great support person might do it even better! Just remember to be patient with each team member.
Communication is everything. Team members need to communicate with you and often with each other. Give praise generously and encourage ideas and feedback. Help your team member "own" their job. Give them plenty of training on how you like things, your process, procedures and preferences.
The truth is, delegation is an area that God has been working on me for a few years now. I still have a ways to go but we have developed a great team with much future potential.
This year I made such a serious commitment to delegation and team growth I am even taking a specialized IN-DEPTH course on the topic. And I mean in-depth including project management / sharing platform technology options, security encryption, file organization, project flow and that was 6 weeks before we even got to talking about hiring the first freelancer.
It was like taking one of those college pre-requisite courses, thinking, "Is this REALLY necessary?!?" But it is at our level. The sparkle and gleeful enthusiasm of my instructor was a little scary ... but I digress.
I am just giving you added background because it's reality. Getting organized is necessary if we want someone else to carry on from our example. And life gets so much easier when there is a team. Not just easier in a time-management way but our team also supports us, each other and our students and clients (and you!) with prayer. There is joy and camaraderie in working with a great team.
Here are some areas where you may be able to delegate:
Instead of you spending hours pouring over a computer, researching resources for a client, you can delegate this. Just be sure to explain clearly what you want them to do.
It is important to keep your website, plug-ins and security up-to-date. A virtual assistant can login on a periodic basis to make sure everything is up-to-date. We update everything here several times a week.
You can have a team member respond to client inquiries and even do so in your voice if you create a few email templates ahead of time. In your message, explain that your assistant is sending this on your behalf and if their need is urgent, contact your assistant at their email.
Here is one of the best delegation ideas I have ever benefited from. And this is not delegation to a person but rather to specific technology. Life changed when we moved to an automated phone receptionist. There are many services like this out there but our favorite here is Onebox.com. It's affordable and easy as set it and forget it, even if you only need one line answered. Most businesses have automated phone answering so people understand your need to do this. This change has saved us countless hours each week.
Even if you are the best graphic designer in the world, when you are the owner of your business, someone else can create the cover to your e-book or social media header. And for that matter, others can create your images for social media posting and infographics as well.
This is a great place to begin delegating. Why not add a virtual assistant who can take care of posting to your social media. You will need to train them so they understand the type of posts you want to make and in what frequency. You may prefer to add a social media manager. These jobs can be done by freelance workers, usually quite affordably. An assistant who is familiar with HootSuite or other post scheduling software, can keep this rolling for you in just a couple hours a week.
But, before you hire a freelance assistant ... you need to have a clear understanding of the task that needs to be completed. Create a how-to checklist for the job you need help with. Once you have the instructions written, it's easier to create a job posting and attract the right worker. Eventually, you will be able to compile all of the instructions for various jobs into a manual.
At this point, if you don't have a team to support you and you would like to begin by hiring just one support person, you can find qualified, affordable help at Upwork.com and Fiverr.com. You may be able to hire it done for as little as $3 / hour or $5 for the entire job. Isn't your time worth more than that?
If you have overcome some delegation challenges of your own, I would love to hear from you. Please post your comments at the bottom of this page.
© 2017 by Leelo Bush, Ph.D., All rights reserved.
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