One of the biggest buzzwords in our industry, or any industry for that matter, is “delegate.” In today’s world it’s all about efficiency, effectiveness and getting rid of anything that doesn’t serve you any longer. Bravo, bravo! We are constantly on the soapbox in total support of getting solo business owners to STOP working on their non-revenue-producing activities. A concept that is all the rage in the past decade, side by side with the terminology of “entrepreneur,” has been “delegation.” Conduct a Google search and quite promptly you will receive roughly 28,500,000 useful tips, techniques and worksheets on effective delegation.

According to Wikipedia; Delegation (also called deputation) is the assignment of authority and responsibility to another person (normally from a manager to a subordinate) to carry out specific activities. We invite you to sit with that for a moment: “Manager to a SUBORDINATE.”

Now that is empowering and inspiring for the “subordinate,” huh? Just the definition alone has so many underlying demeaning tones: assignment, responsibility without authority, manager, subordinate ? the bottom-line is, this does not show up as an opportunity for team. Over the past 20 years we have worked with more than 400+ small-business owners and their teams. When we conduct our intake interview with the support team (staff), the very first question we ask is, “What role do you serve in the business?” Ninety percent of the time they fire back a response similar to “Whatever needs to get done; depends on the day.” You speak “delegate” and they hear “dumped on me.”

Today, we invite you to speak in an empowering language with your team and see how quickly you achieve the results you want. It’s easy, it just requires that you speak the same language as your team. We’re not splitting hairs, rather merely noting there is no empowerment, enrollment or ownership in the language of “delegation.” If we’ve heard it once, we’ve heard it 300+ times how negatively those on the receiving end hear that term. So maybe try on an empowering possibility. Imagine, you FINALLY decide you are ready to “give up” document drafting (word processing) to your client services coordinator. Option one is to tell her that you are “delegating” drafting to her because you need more time to market and meet with new clients. While true, this lands like what you have to do is “more important,” so you are “dumping” the least desirable task on her. It doesn’t show that you think she is smart, capable and up to the task, just that you need to get this “task” off your plate to free up your time vs. providing her with an opportunity for growth.

Instead, try option two. Talk to her about her new “opportunity”: knowledge, growth and leadership of the drafting in your office. This is greatly preferable to how new tasks are usually “delegated” ? you scurry out of the office to a power partner lunch meeting, and on your way you place the file on her desk and inform her you are “turning” drafting over to her. Instead imagine this: You invite your team member to sit through every meeting involved in the process; from meeting one with the client to the final meeting. You then debrief with her and check in on what showed up for her during those meetings, and if she saw the difference your business and process made in the client’s mindset, stress level and overall life.

Then proceed to talk about the powerful process of making sure all their stuff is protected and how important her documents are in ensuring everything is protected. You then move into a conversation about the art of drafting and bring up your document creation software and how the software exactly matches your trusty intake forms and every tool you used during those meetings. Now she can see how the documents she drafts play a huge part in the difference your business makes for clients. It’s not just paperwork or data entry now; you see the difference? Empower vs. delegate. It’s the same amount of work on your part (we lobby much less) either way, but one produces results. And I think we all know too well where delegation leads us: to a place of “I can’t get my employees to do what I need them to do.”

You can hop on over to our Team Empowerment Academy – and just look at the bullet points (over 20) of all that you’ll get for just $14.99.  Just click here and start empowering your team today.

Molly Hall