Removing Fear From Delegation

Bigstock-Businessman-making-a-danger-an-15477122-300x200Working with many lawyers in their journey to become more entrepreneurial, to create a practice that is less dependent on them, there is an overwhelming theme, the fear of delegation. Many of us are afraid to delegate to others, those things we do well. I realize the lack of delegation really comes down to two core deficiencies. First, lack of trust in the people that work with us OR lack of systems to ensure that the work will be done properly and nothing will be inadvertently omitted.

As we look at the first issue, trusting the people that work with us, the question is whose challenge is it, theirs or ours? More specifically is that they don’t have the skill to do the work or is it that they haven’t been trained properly on how to do it. If it’s lack of skill, the solution is easy, terminate and move on to the next one, if it’s lack of training, the challenge is a little greater because now you are usually the only one that can do the training, and who has time for that? You must find the time because it never ends. If we don’t train others properly, then we must assume responsibility for the rest of the time that we will need to commit to do the work. Isn’t it worth a little up-front effort to train a person, with the necessary skills, that you trust? As my dad always said, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”.

As we look at the second challenge, proper system structure is a critical piece to confidently delegating. Even if you have trained skilled employees to delegate your duties, you are still at risk that something might be dropped, forgotten, or failed to be completed. That’s where a good system, tracking each core need that you serve, and the fulfillment of it, are absolutely essential. While this appears to be daunting, in reality, you’re doing it anyway. Restated, the things you need to delegate need to be communicated to the delegatee anyway. It’s just the method in which you delegate it that must change.

For example instead of it being verbal, it must be in your contact management system to ensure there’s a record of it. Once it’s in your contact management system the information can be reviewed upon your need, by generating the appropriate report. Secondarily, once delegated the person delegated to, has to do that which was asked. Again, nothing changes, other than when they do it, it needs to be entered into your contact management system to track that it was done. Once everything is entered into your contact management system then you can retract that information any time you need to identify what is pending and what has been completed.

It sounds daunting, but if you don’t start, you never finish. Even better, we have already built the systems, processes, tracking, and training so you don’t have to.

Dave J. Zumpano

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