One of the hardest skills for entrepreneurs and founders to master is delegation. Yet, it is one of the most important skills that any entrepreneur or founder can have. You’re probably used to doing everything yourself, but you know you need to give up some control over important areas if you want to scale your business.
In this episode, you’ll learn what we get wrong about delegation, why we have trouble delegating, what most entrepreneurs and founders tend to do instead of delegating, and a simple, easy-to-follow framework to help you tackle this most important challenge.
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- 01:43 Contrary to what many entrepreneurs think, your company is not your baby
- 02:25 Two things most entrepreneurs and founders tend to do when delegating – abdicating or project management
- 02:49 Reasons that stop us from delegating in our business
- 04:44 The definition of delegation according to the dictionary
- 05:13 A very easy 5-step framework on how to delegate or the 5 Levels of Delegation
“Entrepreneurs and founders tend to do one of two things when they’re delegating, they are either abdicating, which means that they want to then throw all of the tasks and the entire project onto somebody else’s shoulders and expect them to magically solve the problem. Or they tend to project manage, they tend to give away the small things, but yet control the bigger project pieces.” – Dhiren Bhatia
“When you try to delegate, what you’re really doing is you’re giving away small pieces of a task that you eventually want to control. And I think that’s the big thing that we need to change in our mindset as entrepreneurs and founders. Because we’ve got to remember, there is only one of us, the company may be able to scale, we can’t scale.” – Dhiren Bhatia
Hey, welcome to a brand new episode of the elevated entrepreneur podcast. We are in season two, and today’s episode is all about delegation. Why am I talking about delegation? Because I think delegation is one of those things that appear to be deceptively simple. Yet, it is one of the hardest skills for entrepreneurs and founders to pick up. Which is why more often than not founders and entrepreneurs are not delegating, but they are doing what they call abdicating. If you think you need help with your delegation skills, then this is the episode for you. Grab a cup of coffee, grab a headset, turn up the volume if you’re driving, and help me cue the music.
Hey there, welcome to the Elevated Entrepreneur podcast. This podcast is designed specifically for entrepreneurs, and founders to implement winning habits, mindset, and systems. So they can elevate their entrepreneurship game and quit the hustle game. My name is Dhiren Bhatia, let’s get started.
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Now, before I get into the definition and discussion about delegation, I want to give you some tough love. That company or that brand that you’ve started and you’re running is not a part of you, it is not your baby, it’s very normal to feel like that. But it is actually not. And that thought process is what creates a choke point in the organization. Because when you try to delegate, what you’re really doing is you’re giving away small pieces of a task that you eventually want to control. And I think that’s the big thing that we need to change in our mindset as entrepreneurs and founders. Because we’ve got to remember, there is only one of us, the company may be able to scale, we can’t scale.
And this is why most often, entrepreneurs and founders tend to do one of two things when they’re delegating, they are either abdicating, which means that they want to then throw all of the tasks and the entire project onto somebody else’s shoulders and expect them to magically solve the problem. Or they tend to project manage, they tend to give away the small things, but yet control the bigger project pieces. So why don’t we delegate?
What are some of the reasons that stop us from doing this very important task in our business. I’ve heard for very good reasons. The first one, that it is hard to show somebody else how to do something, it’s time consuming. And by that it’s much easier if I just go ahead and do it myself. The second reason is that we feel a posse, we feel we’re bossing people around when we ask them to do something for us. And the third reason is because we feel that our team members are very busy, we feel that they’ve got a lot on their plate.
And I’ve got a news flash for you. So do you, as founders, we have an incredible amount of work that we need to deliver, not just customer facing work. But internal roadmap, strategy, product design, there are so many things that we do have on our plates. And the fourth one being the fact that we love doing the task so much. We think that nobody else can do it better than us, whether that’s sales, whether that’s closing a New Deal, product delivery a particular project, we think we are the best at what we do.
So why does this happen? I think there are two words that can summarize this entire problem, it hurts. We know our business better than anybody else. We know our business better than anybody that we’ve hired. We also know that we’ve been doing this since the beginning. And yet when we see our team members struggle, we find it very hard to resist jumping in and doing it for them. Because in order for them to improve, you need to stand back and watch them screw up just like we have over the last many years that we’ve been running our businesses, it’s really important to remember that they will make mistakes, our team members will take longer than we would. And yet that is the only way to improvement and learning. Because our jobs as founders and entrepreneurs is not to get things done, but to empower our people so they can do it better than us.
And a really good way to sum this up is how the dictionary defines delegation is defined as to give a task to somebody else with the responsibility to act on your behalf to give somebody else the power to act, make decisions or even allocate resources on your behalf. and the key word here is on your behalf. Because once we realize that we can hand off things, we also realize that we have more time to focus on our core responsibilities as a CEO.
The million dollar question then is you might be thinking, then how do we delegate, and I want to leave you with a very easy five step framework. When you’re thinking about delegation. This framework is also called the five levels of delegation. So you can learn it, practice it, and make use of it every single day. And the five steps begin at the very bottom of the pyramid. And that is level one.
The first one is getting somebody to go investigate a particular problem that you’re facing, you’re asking them to go do some research and come back to you with their findings, so that you can make the decision. And this is great if you have an intern or a very junior level of staff member that you’re giving some stuff to. This is a great way to get them to test the waters and see how good they are at doing a particular task and following requests. The second level up is where you’re asking the person to go investigate and figure out a solution to the problem you’re facing, and come back to you with their findings and a recommendation. And then you can say yes or no, before they proceed with that solution. This is great if you have someone who’s been working with you for some time now.
And they’ve just been bumped up from an intern or a junior level of staff towards mid junior or slightly senior level of staff member. The third level of delegation is when you are asking someone on your team to go investigate to go figure out the solution to the problem, tell you what they like to do. And if you don’t say anything, they’re free to proceed with implementing that solution. This is a really key level in upgrading your staff members, upgrading your team to be able to handle much bigger sets of responsibilities. The fourth level of delegation is where you’ve asked someone on your team to help you with a particular problem. You’ve asked them to go investigate the problem, figured out a couple of solutions, implement the right recommendation, and let you know once they’ve done that, and this segues into the fifth and the final level of delegation.
This is the level of delegation that we all want to get to the most effective way of delegating is where you tell somebody on your team about a particular problem or thing that you need to get done. They go figure out the problem, investigate the solution, implement the right recommendation, and not tell you about it because they have now completely owned the problem and the solution.
So the next time you are thinking of delegating, or you are actually giving somebody a task to do I want you to remember these five levels of delegation, and remember which particular level you’re currently practicing, and help your team members elevate themselves up this framework. I hope that you’ve enjoyed this episode. Remember, you can always give me your feedback. I’m keen to hear from you. So head on over to elevated entrepreneur.fm/speak where you can record a voice note and I will be happy to feature your feedback here on this podcast.
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