Work Smarter: Delegation

Work Smarter, Not Harder (1)

Confession: I'm a huge control freak with my work. If my name is going to be on something, it better well be the best it can be.

I've had some group project horror stories that turned me into the paper-writing, survey-collecting control freak that my fellow MBA and MSM colleagues know today. This usually means I'm struggling to balance two (or more) large data collection projects with work and general life. Let's be honest, that's going to lead to major burnout. And it did. 

This semester I finally decided to give up the reigns and learn how to delegate to my group members (in one class, at least). Yes, the survey isn't completely up to my standards, and sometimes we need to regroup to make sure we're all on the same page. Overall though, letting others take the lead hasn't been as scary as I thought it would be. If you're a perfectionist and control freak like me, delegation may help you get a better grasp on a work-life balance.

Smart business cat

  • Have trust in others: You're not always going to be in the ideal group situation, and it's hard to trust people you don't know. If it's possible, look for one or two people in your group who you know to have it together or who seem to have it together enough to help lead the project. 
  • Understand that it doesn't have to be "perfect": This was a hard one for me to understand until I realized that the world doesn't end when I get a B+ in a class. Striving to be perfect with run you into the ground and probably irritate everyone you're working with. Once you understand your group, strive to work within their capabilities versus some imaginary standard you hope to achieve.
  • Learn when to step away: Hovering over people will drive them crazy. Your group knows what they do best, so let them work on what they can. In my capstone group, I'm playing editor to give our business plan a comprehensive sound, but I'm not telling the finance boys what to write. I'm stepping away from that and having trust that they will know the best stuff to cover. I'm not the expert, so I shouldn't be doing it.
  • Make expectations clear: Communicate your vision to your group. If they don't know what needs to be done, they can't do it. Plain and simple.
  • Hold others accountable: If someone isn't doing their work, hold them to it. Don't just pick up the pieces, but work with them to understand the root of the problem. Allow your group to help if one person fails to complete something.

I'm just understanding how delegating to your group can help you achieve a better work-life balance and work smarter. Sometimes it is better to let others complete the task because you're spread too thin or because you don't have the subject matter expertise to produce the best work. Harvard Business Review is a great resource for this stuff.

Make your life a little bit simpler and learn how to delegate. It makes a world of difference.

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