We live in a society that holds self-autonomy and multitasking in the highest regard.
Being independent and able to juggle multiple expectations at once is rewarded with recognition, income, and… even more responsibility.
At some point, the weight of that responsibility and our workload takes their toll on us and fatigue sets in. Left unchecked, burnout is certain to follow. While there are many ways to protect against burnout, one of the most effective is delegation.
One definition of delegation:
The assignment of responsibility or authority to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. It is one of the core concepts of management leadership. However, the person who delegated the work remains accountable for the outcome of the delegated work. – Wikipedia
If you have a type-A personality that loves micro-managing, the thought of trusting someone else with your responsibilities may seem as exciting as pulling teeth, but it is a highly effective way to prevent burnout. Giving up ownership of non-essential tasks can free up your time to be a more effective leader and help keep your head well above the waterline.
The reality is, if burnout does set in, delegation is going to happen one way or another once you’ve pushed yourself past the point where you can no longer work or manage your day-to-day life. The very real possibility of your health becoming impaired due to burnout warns you that if you become too afraid to give up control, you may end up losing it anyway. It is far better to learn the benefits of delegation before you’ve crossed your limits.
Benefits of delegation:
- Better distributes workload
- Diminishes overwhelm and fatigue
- Creates new opportunities for collaboration
- Creates better leaders
- Saves resources
Here are three tips to learn to be a better delegator:
Require help as part of the process – If you make getting the help you need a planned requirement from your family, your staff, or even paid professionals, you won’t resist the process when it comes time to ask. It’s very easy to fall into a habit of doing things on your own because it seems faster, more efficient, or dependable – but others will only rise to the occasion if you communicate your expectation to be helped.
Find the best person for the job – Delegation begins with picking the best person suited for the task. You wouldn’t want your toddler making your bed, nor would you want your highest paid employee doing the most menial tasks. Make sure that you are matching the activity that needs delegation to the best person to get it done.
Don’t sabotage your assistants – Whether you anxiously clean before and after your cleaner comes, or you do your child’s chores because it’s not worth the potential fight: you are sabotaging your delegation. If you ask for help and the results aren’t up to your standards, clarifying and reinforcing your expectations is well worth the investment in time.
It might feel like you are less stressed when you only rely on yourself. In certain circumstances this may be true – but the more responsibility you take on, the less wiggle-room you have to cope with the pressures that come with each and every expectation associated with that responsibility.
Learn to delegate to people you trust, and enjoy their support and the resulting freedom from burnout.