You’re not alone if you’ve thought about delegating something at work only to decide that the task will be handled faster if you do it yourself. Many Executives struggle to delegate because they are so overloaded with work that finding time to delegate effectively is a challenge. While delegation does take an investment in time upfront, it ultimately expands your bandwidth and saves an exceptional amount of time in the long run.
Double’s Head of Customer Success, Sophie Holubinka, has supported the onboarding and coaching of more than 200 Double customers. She knows delegating best practices well, considering she spends her days getting new Double customers set up with their Double Assistants. Sophie also happened to be the very first Double Assistant, working directly with executive customers. So, we asked Sophie to share her three best tips for delegating well—and doing so confidently.
1. Start small
Sophie recommends starting small and focusing on transitioning tasks over in parts. Rather than delegating an entire project, assign one task within the overall scope of work. “An executive can easily step in when the first part is complete and give approval, oversight, and direction on the next steps,” she says.
This can be as simple as opening your to-do list with your assistant and picking one task for them to complete. Delegating this way does a few things:
- Avoids overwhelm for both parties
- Saves you time on training a whole project all at once
- Builds confidence step by step
- Begins to create trust between the two of you
2. Be clear
Just like a relationship, delegation only works with proper communication, Sophie emphasizes. “It may seem obvious, but we often forget to explicitly state the intended result. Setting expectations on what needs to be done and how to do it is important,” she says. As you work through your delegation framework start with clear and concise instructions. These can include your expectations around deadlines, productivity level, visibility (frequency of updates), etc.
Communicate before hand-off, but don’t forget to focus on touch points during and after as well. For example, weekly check-ins to share constructive feedback and appreciation go a long way. The biggest mistake an executive can make is to expect a task to get done without any context, access, or set end goal. If you aren’t careful, the task of managing those you’re delegating can actually cancel out any time-saving gains.
3. Train efficiently
While ramping up your delegation efforts, there are ways to make your hand-off more efficient. “Use voice or video notes and try training in real-time as you work on a task," recommends Sophie. "It’s 10x faster to talk through a task and it’s much more contextual for someone on the receiving end because they can catch information between the lines.” For example, use Loom to record your screen as you talk through—and actually complete—your data entry process. Not only is the task finished for the day but you have a clear video with instructions to send to the person on the other end.
If you’re delegating a good amount of work to someone, such as your assistant, make it a point to meet regularly. Meetings can be timewasters, but when you’re trying to save time by delegating, recurring check-ins are essential to both parties. A 30-minute weekly meeting can help keep you on the same page and reset any priorities. Use it as an opportunity to talk through delegated tasks, explain new projects, and generally make sure your assistant (or anyone else you’re delegating to) has everything they need from you.
Becoming a good delegator requires a mindset shift and ongoing trust between two people. Be open to learning from others, as the person you’re delegating to may know a better way to help you reach the end goal. When you’ve established best practices through successful delegation, you’re more likely to listen to their opinions and try new things—ones you hadn’t thought of but can positively impact your business. And, finally, don't be afraid to ask for feedback and tips to make sure the two of you are always working well together.