“Delegation is Not a Dirty Word” was originally posted by hint Founder & CEO, Kara Goldin, on LinkedIn here:
As Richard Branson said, “If you really want to grow as an entrepreneur, you’ve got to learn to delegate.” Delegation is not always the first place we look to resolve a problem. Especially as an owner/operator, it can be all too easy to step in and try and do everything yourself. Jessica Jackley, founder of KivaBut used well and mindfully, it can make all the difference to your business and it’s growth.
“Hire people who are better than you are, then leave them to get on with it.” – David Ogilvy, “The Father Of Advertising”
I think one of my greatest strengths is my ability to hire people who know more than I do in their respective fields. I always say I know just enough to get me in trouble: I have a broad knowledge of many things, be it marketing or spreadsheets or sales, but then I hire people I can delegate to who are more specialized than I am. You can’t be the best at everything! It’s easier to delegate to someone when you know they are going to complete a task better than you ever could.
I read what Jessica Jackley, founder of Kiva recently said, “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” Sometimes necessity is the mother of invention: I have four kids and a husband and two dogs – I simply do not have time to do it all myself! Biting off more than you can chew can actually be a blessing if you are someone who does not like delegating. If you recognize that your project will fail without out more hands on deck, you are much more likely to train people, and give your staff opportunities.
Starting to delegate can be the hardest part: there is often a learning curve and your staff might not get it right the first few times, but creating an environment where it is safe to fail, reset and retry builds resilience. Over time, if you empower people to work it out themselves, you know you can trust them to handle those tasks and give them more responsibility. You are creating opportunities for them and freeing yourself up to concentrate on what you need to focus on.
“Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”- George S. Patton, US Army General
It can be easy to take it personally if something is not delivered on time or how you would like it done. In those moments, I make sure I manage the deliverable and not people’s emotions. Train your staff in the structures that support the process, rather than the solitary task. Maybe the staff member needs more support, or clarity around the task. Work those details out first before stepping in and doing it yourself. Over time, you will train people to know what to do.
“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.”― John C. Maxwell, leadership coach and author
Instead of saying “Let me know if you need me to jump in,” I will ask how I can support the process. It’s important to give someone ownership of a task, while managing the deadlines. It gives the staff a sense of autonomy and value they can’t get from you hovering all the time.
A big part of why startups don’t get out the gate is because the founders are unable to delegate or trust people. It’s hard as a founder, because the business is yours and you have so much at stake. However, it’s just not true that you are the only person on earth who can perform the tasks needed to be done. At the end of the day, working with teams means you can get more done and create more than you would ever have done alone. Don’t stand in the way of your own success. Free yourself up! Focus on what you’re good at and hire people to do the tasks you cannot.
Chances are you will be pleasantly surprised.
Kara Goldin is Founder and CEO of Hint Water, the fastest-growing flavored water in the United States. Kara started Hint when she couldn’t find a healthy water that tasted great without questionable additives like sweeteners. Hint Water has 0 calories, 0 sugar, and 0 diet sweeteners and can be purchased online at http://www.drinkhint.com in a variety of flavors including Blackberry and Watermelon, in both still and sparkling. Kara just launched NEW Hint Kick for those who want caffeine, but not any added stuff like sugar and diet sweeteners. Hint Kick has already received rave reviews from the NY Post and BevNet.