You Can Learn to Delegate!

“I’ll take care of it myself.” Fess up. How often do you utter these words on any given day? If you are like most women, you speak this phrase far too often. Delegating doesn’t come naturally to women, either at home or on the work front. First of all, we probably saw our moms taking care of everything for everyone, and rarely asking for help. Secondly, the aversion to delegating is probably hard-wired into us!

I have helped women of all ages learn to delegate, so I know you can do it — despite training and biology. But you will need to make changes in your thinking patterns and in your behavior. And since human beings tend to repeat the same old patterns until they become too painful, I hope that you have “hit bottom” and are truly ready to try something new. Here’s how.

Change Your Thinking
Old Thinking — Others will dislike me if I ask for help. So it’s better to play the martyr and just do it myself.
New Thinking — They will probably pitch in and end up liking me better! I will be more cheerful and even-tempered if I’m not taking on the world’s problems myself.

Old Thinking — Those around me can’t do it as well as I can, so I’d rather do it myself.
New Thinking — I will delegate the task to an appropriate person, with instructions. Even if it isn’t done perfectly, at least it will get done. And I’ll avoid becoming overly taxed and grouchy!

Old Thinking — I’ll be jealous if someone else gets the credit.
New Thinking — It’s more important that I be calm and well rested rather than in the spotlight all the time. My personal worth is not based solely on “doing.”

Old Thinking — It’s quicker to just take care of it myself. Instructing someone else will just be time-consuming and aggravating.
New Thinking — It will take time to teach someone else. But after that, they will know how to do it, and I will have time to smell the roses!
Change Your Behavior

Now that you’ve cleared up some errors in your thinking patterns, let’s look at how to delegate:

Determine which task(s) you wish to delegate.
Decide who can best complete the task.

On the home front — Your spouse or a child? Someone you need to hire?
At work — One of your employees? Another department? A contract worker?

Clearly communicate the task to be done to the person you’ve selected. Ask them to summarize your request, to be sure you have communicated clearly.
Thank the person for accepting your request for agreeing to do what you have asked. Give them a deadline for task completion.

Suggest a date and time for a “progress check” prior to the completion date. This will allow you to catch anything that may have fallen through the cracks and provide the opportunity to give feedback about progress-to-date.

When the task is completed, say thanks!
So that’s all there is to it! Changing long-standing patterns is not easy, but the personal rewards you receive will be great. Your family and friends will be happy to see you taking better care of yourself. Most importantly, you will like your new-found ability to stay calm and collected and enjoy that bubble bath or mid-afternoon nap!

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