5 steps to letting go without losing control

5 steps to letting go without losing control

As a senior executive or an entreprenuer one tends to fall in love with one’s baby and letting go of some tasks becomes more difficult with each passing day. Let our step-by-step guide help you.

Letting go can be far more difficult than one may like to believe. This holds true not just in the case of startup founders but also in the case of senior executives who pride themselves on juggling a lot of balls in the air. But how do you let go and delegate without losing control? Is that even possible or is it just an unachievable paradox? While it may seem like a difficult task, you’d be surprised to know that letting go and delegating is possible. Here are the five steps to help you do it.

1. Ask yourself if the task can be delegated
Before you say a flat-out no, give this one some serious thought. Do you have enough time to delegate it, for you to train that person and rework it if it needs to be? But at the same time, if the task is a recurring one, you need to urgently identify someone who can take it off your hands. Similarly, ask yourself if the task will give someone else the opportunity to grow. If it does, you absolutely must consider delegating it sooner rather than later. But remember you’re only delegating a part of your responsibility. At the end the buck stops with you.

2. Identify the person to delegate it to
It is easy to say that there’s no one as efficient as you to tackle the task at hand, but think again. Is there really no one who can take it on? Take a good hard look at the people around you. Review what your high performing employees are up to, identify their strengths and weaknesses, but also assess just how willing they are to learn new things and take on the kind of project you want to delegate. Zero down on the person, and then go ahead and do it.

3. Be ready to provide support
Your job doesn’t end with delegating the task. In fact your job has just begun. You will need to take the time to provide training to the person, be available for answering any questions, and monitor from time to time. You will also have to learn to accept that people will make mistakes as they learn new skills and take on new responsibilities. Be ready to step in if the task hasn’t met your expectations, but also don’t meddle with the work flow of the new leader. It is a thin line and you must walk it.

4. Set deadlines after proper discussions
This is crucial. When you delegate a project, both of you need to agree not just on the deadlines but also on the schedule of checkpoints. That way you can keep a tab on the progress and be prepared for any eventuality.

5. Don’t encourage upward delegation
While it is important for you to be around to have an overarching view of the project, it is crucial that you don’t give your colleague the feeling that he can pass the baton back to you. That defeats the whole purpose of delegating and letting go. Encourage the person to come up with solutions and help him to find the answers himself rather than giving them to him. While it is crucial that you keep tabs, it is equally crucial that you don’t get dragged into the nitty gritties of the execution.