“I would delegate but it takes too long to train my team to do it’

Of all the excuses I hear about delegation from the managers I coach, this is probably the most frequent.

Like anything worth doing, it takes a bit of effort.  The key is to start.  It will ALWAYS take time to train people up.  So you can either spend the next six months using this as an excuse, or you can crack on with it.

Trust me on these two things

  1.  Your working hours will continue to get longer if you don’t delegate
  2. The good people on your team will leave if they don’t get more challenging work

See the connection here?  If you think you are struggling to be productive now, think about how much more intense that will be if a key team member moves on.

So, it will take time to train your team.  Here’s how to make it as pain free as possible

Break A Task Into Smaller Chunks

Delegating a big task can feel unachievable.  See how you can chunk that task into smaller pieces.  Put a plan in place  to transition the work over in manageable steps.  Include the team members you will handover this task to in the planning sessions.  This will keep you accountable to do it and engage your team members in helping more with the transition.  It shouldn’t be all your responsibility to do this.

Find Ways To Do It Once

The golden rule to transitioning a task is to make the training as effective as possible.  Find a way to do it only once.  Here are some ideas….

  • If it’s a system related task you are delegating, use a screen capture video tool to record yourself as you do it. If you have the option, record yourself talking through it as you go. Send them the recording.
  • If you can’t record it, get them to sit next to you with a laptop doing exactly the same as you do. Ask them to take screen shots and put into a document with some commentary for their (and other people’s) future reference.
  • If they are deputising for you, talk them through the key points they need to know and get them to document it.
  • Walk through the task once to a group of people so multiple people could do the task in the future. Video the session (you only need a smart phone) for future reference.
  • Train up one person and ask them to teach the others.

If they are active in their learning (i.e. creating a document or presentation), research has proven that they will retain the information better. This is enhanced further if they teach the information to others – this is the best way to learn.

Start With The End In Mind

For some tasks, they will need to follow each step exactly. However, for other tasks the end result is what’s important. So think about how much you really have to direct the process to get there. Fresh eyes may even improve the process.   And they will take more ownership of the task if they have control of how to complete it.

Support them to succeed

Scared they’ll mess it up?  That’s a pretty natural feeling.  Check out this post to find out what you can do to support them along the way.

team will mess it up

Remember That It Takes Longer To Train A New Hire

Yes, it does take time to train someone but you’ll recoup that time at some point by not having to do the task.

So next time you think ‘it takes too long to train my team’ consider this.  If you don’t start delegating these opportunities to people, they may look elsewhere to find the challenges they want. And it will take a whole lot longer training up their replacement.