Dynamite Delegation

Delegation is a wonderful thing. For my first few weeks as COO of influeners@, I didn’t do any of it. Instead, I did everything personally. From cleaning the office to passing out free products on college campuses to developing company wide KPIs, my responsibilities stacked up as high as the Eiffel tower.

Last week, I made a new hire and Dave Fields, a rising junior at BU, joined our team to focus on operations with me. During his first few days he was timid, and I was constantly worried I was giving him too much to figure out. Sure enough though, Dave began taking the responsibilities I delegated to him and absolutely kicking ass with them. He re-engineered our hourly payroll tracking form, quadrupled the amount of successful executions of a daily client marketing campaign, interviewed and hired a new brand ambassador… and this was all in his first 7 days! As a manager, it felt so incredible to delegate to someone I have true confidence in that will get the job done. 

The big lessons to learn from succesfully delegating to an awesome teammate are:

1. You cannot do it all

It’s important to start with a lot so you can learn the ins and outs of your business. But once you have the hang of it, you have to delegate in order to focus and take on other more critical responsibilities.

2. Start slowly and progressively delegate more

There’s no need to share all of your work at once. Start with less important tasks, see how the people you delegate them to handle them, tweak and train them and then add more.

3. Have clear, measurable goals and metrics for delegated work

You need a way to measure how well a task is being done and how the result compares to what you would have produced yourself. That means you must define metrics for what a “successful” completion of a task is. For example, if I delegate scheduling responsibilities for brand promoters at influencers@, I’d measure it’s success by having all schedule slots filled 3 days in advance of a marketing campaign.

4. Give lots of constructively critical feedback

The teammates that take on a delegated responsibility will want to know how they are performing and more importantly how they can improve. Regular and clear feedback complimented by action items is essential for a successful delegation. This can be as simple as keeping the manager cc-ed on early emails or doing a weekly check in meeting.

In the mean time, I sure am grateful to have people like Dave on the team that I can rely on, delegate a task to and sleep soundly knowing it will get done as well or better than if I did it myself. Business bliss right there.

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