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How To Battle Upward Delegation by Using a Virtual Assistant

Upward Delegation defined as when work is inappropriately pushed upward to the highest level person in the organization that will accept it. The consequences are serious: CEOs and business leaders are working long hours and they have teams who aren't thinking for themselves or solving their own problems.

There is a high-level of frustration around upward delegation. How many times have you found yourself on the phone during a family vacation? Do you have a desire to be seen as a "good leader" so you end up taking on the work of your team? Do you have employees who have become so high-maintenance that you decide it's not worth the effort to delegate and simply do the task yourself?

Upward delegation presents a lot of challenges to the health of your business, but namely, the most important one is that you, as the CEO, will inevitably experience burn-out as you become increasingly more responsible for more work that you can get done in one day.

It's up to you to change your behavior.

Here are some steps you can take to manage this business challenge:​

1) Upgrade and elevate your team: By hiring an experienced team of Virtual Assistants, you can ensure that you have the right capabilities in each position, with the strongest skillset. Review your Virtual Assistant's role and responsibilities to ensure that the tasks, decisions and problem-solving are assigned to the most accessible person possible. When you're working with an experienced Virtual Assistant, they will know how to clearly define outcomes, expectation and metrics for measuring success.

2) Follow a delegation process: And stick to your guns about it. Many projects are sabotaged in the beginning by short cutting the initial planning and delegation process. Our Virtual Assistants give their clients a specific, simple guideline for following a delegation process. This includes: having a plan, defining the objectives and standards, specifying the range of discretion, inform others that delegation has occcured and provide feedback upon completion.

3) Push the monkey back: Ask open-ended questions when someone presents you with a problem. Here are some examples:

  • "What do you think? Come back with a proposal and we can discuss your recommendation to solve the problem."

  • "What have you done already? What do you think is the next step?"

  • "If I wasn’t available – how would you proceed in order to stay on task and on time with this?"

It's very important to avoid saying "Let me get back to you," as you've effectively given the team member permission to take it off their plate and put it onto yours.

4) Be clear and consistent about your role as a leader: Proactively delegate. Stop doing any tasks that are inconsistent with the behavior and daily schedule of a CEO. Do not tolerate upward delegation once tasks are assigned and direction clarified

For your company to grow, you should be spending a minimum of 50% of your time on planning for the future! Eliminating upward delegation will free more of your valuable time while placing the responsibilities for your day-to-day operations at their lowest, most appropriate level.

As the CEO of your business, your time needs to be spent on high-value tasks. You cannot grow your business when your time is consumed with the minutia of each and every project. If you commit to building your organization with a strong Virtual Assistant team and are a transparent, supportive leader-- this common challenge won't impede your growth. Quite the opposite, actually-- if you choose the right Virtual Assistant company, you'll have a team of Virtual Assistants who are hungry and passionate about taking on projects and responsibility. They will be driven to deliver exceptional results for you and the rest of the team!

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