Let's talk about why delegation isn’t currently working for you, and what to do about it. First, most of the time, higher level executives may not have the patience to work with an assistant to teach them step-by-step what to do for specific tasks. Your time is valuable and it may be perceived that spending that time to train an assistant may not be in your or your company’s best interest. Why not just do it yourself so it’s right the first time?
Secondly, you may have already tried to delegate a task to your assistant and it just didn’t work. What they gave back to you wasn’t right, wasn’t in the format you needed, didn’t really get the job done, and now you have to spend extra time re-doing it and fixing their mistakes. So why delegate at all? Simply because your time is valuable and is better spent expanding and growing your business.
The purpose of having an assistant is to pass on those minimal tasks so that you can focus your time and energy into bigger projects. By not taking the time to train your assistant, you end up wasting your time on tasks that really don’t need to be handled by you. It’s also important to remember that it takes time to get into a flow with a new assistant. It may take more than once for them to understand how you want a task done and the specific needs you have. But over time, this will become easier and will allow you to hand over more and more tasks to your assistant leaving your time open. It also helps to have all of your standard operating procedures written down so that if a new assistant comes along it will save you time and money, and you won't have to worry if those minimal tasks are getting completed correctly.
What is the number one piece of advice when starting to delegate? Have patience! Keep in mind that hiring and training an assistant is a learning process. You are both learning: how the other operates, and how the other communicates. This will be key in not only finding a good assistant that you can work well with, but continuing a working relationship with that assistant.
One of the best tools used in hiring an assistant is the DISC Assessment. The DISC is similar to Myers Briggs, in that it will teach you about your communication style and teach you how to communicate with others who have different styles. This will help you build a relationship with your assistant and can make the training period easier.
Having the stress of being a CEO, COO, CMO, Entrepreneur etc, makes patience and time hard because you have so much responsibility. Typically, the higher level executive is a visionary and not so detail oriented, like assistants usually are, so communication styles are already starting out as opposites. Understanding both the communication and behavioral style that your assistant has, and letting your assistant understand yours, will significantly improve your delegation thus allowing you to focus on what really matters most… growing your business.
Listen in for more advice on Not Your Average CEO: Lifeline Podcast.