149: Guilt-Free Delegating | Tanya Dalton
November 19, 2019   |   Episode #:

149: Guilt-Free Delegating

In This Episode:

Some people tend to think of delegating tasks as a way to free up some of their time. While it certainly does achieve this, it also empowers those around you to take ownership of their responsibilities while strengthening the camaraderie of the team. In today’s episode, I talk with Susan, an overwhelmed mom of four, teacher and caregiver of her ill mother. We chat about the steps she’s already taken to start delegating and how she can continue to delegate even further without feeling like she’s nagging. I emphasized the importance of creating a shared vision, setting expectations, and mapping out exactly what those expectations look like to those around us.

Show Transcript:

The Big Idea

Delegation is an opportunity for growth.

Questions I Answer

  • How can I delegate better?
  • How can I get my team to do better work?
  • Why doesn’t my team do a better job?
  • Why is my delegation strategy not working?

Actions to Take

  • If you haven’t already picked up your copy, head to joyofmissingout.com or your favorite retailer.

Key Topics in the Show

  • Getting comfortable with the idea of delegating tasks to others

  • Carving out space for yourself, no matter how busy you feel

  • Setting expectations and mapping them out to others

  • Letting people take ownership over their assigned tasks and creating a shared vision

  • How to successfully delegate tasks to others

Show Transcript

Welcome to productivity paradox with Tanya Dalton, a podcast focused on finding 

true happiness through productivity. Season 12 is different from any she’s done before with real conversations with real women, applying strategies and concepts 

explored in The Joy of Missing Out. 

This season, you’ll learn how to live more by doing less. And now here’s your host, 

Tanya Dalton. 

Tanya: 

Hello, hello everyone. Welcome to Productivity Paradox. I’m your host, 

Tanya Dalton and this is episode 149. Now as you know, this season is all about the joy of missing out and applying those strategies and tactics that we talk about into real everyday life. We’re having conversations with women who are maybe struggling or who are dealing with some issues and they want a little bit of guidance and we’re using the book as our guide to help them solve some of these problems. 

Speaking of the joy of missing out, today is our fourth week of our virtual live book club and I would love to have you come and join us in the conversation. It’s absolutely okay if you’ve not joined us in weeks one through three. Join us today. It really has been some amazing conversations that I think you would love to be a part of. Simply go to joyofmissingout.com/bookclub for all the information. Now, if you’re a little bit late to the party and you’re listening to this after the book club has happened, it’s absolutely okay. You can use that same link and I’ll have replays of those conversations and those live events ready for you to take part in. See, there’s no reason to have any fear of missing out. It’s all about the joy of missing out. 

And speaking of joy of missing out, let’s get into today’s conversation because I’m really excited about it. You’re going to hear me talk with Susan and we’re going to talk about a topic that makes a lot of people uncomfortable, delegation. Now I know it doesn’t seem like a hot button topic, but delegation is one of those things so many people struggle with. Well, why is that? Well, there’s a few reasons. We don’t feel like we have the time, which is funny because delegation in theory, well, it gives us more time. But we have to put in the time on the front end, the time it takes to get someone else to do the work. 

How many times have you said to yourself, “Oh, I need the kids, or I need my boyfriend or my coworker or whoever to do this,” and then 

immediately thought to yourself, “Oh, never mind. I’ll just do it myself. That’ll be faster.” Yep, I know, delegation it’s an investment. Yes, it takes 

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some time on the front end, but the goal here is that eventually it takes very little or no time at all because you’ve gotten that other person to be accountable for the task or the project. You see, we need to remember delegation is an opportunity for development. It’s an opportunity to help someone else learn and to flourish. It’s an opportunity for their growth. 

And when you look at delegation this way, it helps to do away with the guilt you may be feeling. That we have to do it all, that this is how we care for others by taking on everyone else’s work. You don’t have to do all the heavy lifting. And in fact, delegation will actually help bring your team together and make the bonds even stronger because it builds up their confidence in being a contributing team member. Which makes the entire group stronger. 

Now, Susan, who I’m talking with in today’s show, she is a mom of four. She has kids ranging from age seven all the way to 14 and she’s taking care of her mother who’s ill and is currently living with them. She and her husband are both school teachers, so they’ve got a lot going on and she wants to know how to keep everything running at home while still keeping her sanity. But what we cover in our conversation applies to delegation, whether it’s at home or at work or anywhere else for that matter. The strategies I’ll cover too, in the second half of the show, they work no matter where you are. And I’ve got a download that’s going to make delegation a lot easier for you. I’ll walk you through that. All right, let’s dive in to today’s conversation. 

Hi Susan, welcome to the show. 

Susan: 

Thank you. I wanted to know how I can balance raising my family of four children, caring for my mother that lives in the house with us, being good wife and taking care of my own needs while keeping my sanity and a sense of humor. 

Tanya: 

Those are both very important. Sanity and sense of humor, both of which are important because I know that you work full time and so you obviously have a very full house without a lot of things going on, right? 

Susan: 

Correct. 

Tanya: 

Yes. And that can be really difficult to manage. I think you know how I feel about balance, that it doesn’t really exist. That if we’re perfectly balanced, we’re not moving in any direction. That we need to be able to lean into certain areas of our lives in different seasons and then lean back. I guess my question for you would be, what do you think are your priorities right now? Where do you want to spend your time? 

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Susan: 

Well, right now in a few weeks I’m going to be going back for my doctorate. That’s important to me. Also, I have children in elementary, one in middle school and one in high school and I want to make sure that they are healthy and happy and their needs are taken care of. And of course, my marriage because if that’s not together, it’s going to be a mess. 

Tanya: 

Absolutely 

Susan: 

And to throw in, my mom is with us and I take care of her because she has some health needs. My priority is making it all function without losing my mind. 

Tanya: 

Easier said than done, right? 

Susan: 

Yes. 

Tanya: 

Yes, I think my question for you is, where does self-care fit in? Because I know a lot of times people can feel very selfish about taking care of themselves, but what does that look like for you? 

Susan: 

Well, I make it a priority to get up early in the morning and workout when everybody else is sleeping. That’s a little bit of my me time and I’m not a morning person, but I make myself do it because I think it’s important that I start my day off right. That’s my me time. And then going back to school is definitely some self-care. 

Tanya 

Absolutely. Going back to get your doctorate, that’s a really big goal. That’s pretty exciting. Does that feel good to you that you’re going back to school? That’s something that you’re excited about, obviously sol think that’s great. 

Susan 

Well, I waited a long time. I waited until I had my family and my career was established and I feel that all the other little pieces are somewhat in motion and so now I can take care of something that I’ve always wanted. 

Tanya: 

I think that’s great because we talk about actually in chapter 10 of the Joy of Missing Out, that we cannot give to others what we do not give ourselves. You have to carve out that space for yourself. I love that you had put this goal on hold for a little bit and now you’re going to be able to lean into it. This is that idea of imbalance that we really want. That yes, we still have to take care of all the other parts but leaning into a priority from time to time is okay. 

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Susan: 

Welll also found it was important because my kids are on their way to going to college and just to show them if mom can do it, you can do it. 

Tanya: 

Yes, absolutely. I think there’s a lot to be said for that role modeling that we can do that sometimes we as moms can feel really guilty with spending time on ourselves, but we’re showing our children that it’s okay. That it’s good to spend time on yourselves, right? 

Susan: 

Correct. 

Tanya: 

I think this is one of the subjects I want to talk about is because you do have a teen at home, so you have, your husband and your four kids and your mom, all of which have needs that are pulling at you. But I want to know are there some ways that you can be outsourcing some of your tasks so that other members of your team can help out a little bit more? How is that working out for you right now

Susan: 

Well, I do have somebody who helps me take care of my mother when I’m at work. And she also thankfully helps with laundry and keeping the house clean. That’s not something that I really enjoy sol have her doing 

that. I do find it hard though, to get my kids to do some tasks around the house without nagging them. I don’t want to nag them. I want them to participate and do things and ease the load for everybody. But I find that sometimes it’s easier just to do it myself than to continually ask. And so, I need some help with how do I manage them without being their manager? 

Tanya: 

Yes. Well first of all, I like that you’re outsourcing things that you don’t like because a lot of times people outsource the things because they’re easy. It’s good that you’re outsourcing some things like laundry, the things you don’t enjoy. I want to first of all, I want to give you a second to just receive that and say, “Okay, this is good.” You’re on the right track. We’re doing good. You’re doing better than you probably think you are. 

Susan: 

I didn’t feel comfortable doing that I didn’t want to, but I thought I don’t want to spend the spare moments I do have doing things that I don’t want to do. 

Tanya: 

Yes, I think that’s a really good way to look at it. And I think that’s one of the things people struggle with is they feel like even though it’s things they don’t enjoy, I should still do them because I do them quote unquote right. It really is this idea of letting go of some of that perfection, letting go of what that looks like and really just accepting that it’s good to have help. It’s good to have people pitch in. I want to talk about how we can 

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get other members of your family to kind of get into the game and start delegating. Because you’re right, I don’t think any mom says, “You know what? I really want to be a nag. That’s really what I feel like doing today is nagging my kids as much as possible.” When you delegate, what kinds of things have you tried delegating in the past? 

Susan; 

Well, I try to get them to help take care of the animals, the dishes, maybe cleaning up after meals. And my kids do it. They’re great kids. It’s just that I have to continue, even simple things like making sure that they even take care of themselves each night. I feel like I’ve got to continually remind them and they are old enough to be able to do these things. 

Tanya: 

You are not alone in that. I feel like, do I really have to keep reminding my kids to brush their teeth? I’ve been doing that for how long? When we’re delegating, I think one of the things that’s really important is to get 

that buy in from the kids and from your husband and from the other people that you’re delegating to. When you’re sitting down and you’re talking about the expectations you have for them, are you guys having that as a full conversation? Or is that just this is my expectation because this is just what you should be doing? Have you sat down and done a delegation meeting where you sit down with them and map out what you expect, what the outcomes should be and kind of do all of that? 

Susan: 

Actually, I haven’t sat down in that way and that sounds like a great idea because there’s that piece that’s different because I am a teacher and so I do that with my students. But for some reason of course you never follow through and do that with your own family. And that sounds like a great idea to really make it clear because you think that they understand but maybe they don’t. 

Tanya: 

Right. I think that’s a big thing. It’s that idea of communication that we think we’ve explained ourselves, we‘ve communicated what we want, but unless we really sit down and we have that conversation, and I think this conversation is a two way street, it’s not just you saying what your expectations are, but maybe sitting down with them and saying, “What do you expect? What do you expect for hygiene? What do you expect for doing the dishes and those kinds of things?” And making it a conversation. Because it’s just like you’re saying with teaching in the classroom, you don’t just assign kids a job and say, “Okay, you’re in charge of the pencil sharpener and you’re in charge of the recess passes and those things without sitting down and explaining it to them. Because if you did, it would be chaos. It’s that same idea. 

Susan; 

I think with me being the mom sometimes, we take that for granted and we just think, well, they know why they have to bathe. They know why 

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they have to put away their dishes. That’s why I think maybe I haven’t spent the time to actually talk to them about those things when they’re a little bit older. 

Tanya: 

Yeah. And that’s the thing too is that delegation looks different as they get older. To be honest with you, this is a great time especially because your kids, you have kids of a different range so your expectations for the younger kids are different from the expectations of the older kids. Really sitting down with them maybe as a team and having that conversation as a group of what the expectations are and then sitting down one on one with each kid and it doesn’t need to be a three-hour conversation. Just sitting down for 30 minutes and saying, “Okay, what does this need to look like? What do we expect?” And mapping that out together, I think will really help. 

Because I found for me with my kids, for example, cleaning their room, i would say, “Clean your room.” And then they would quote unquote clean 

their room. I’d go and I’d look, and I’d say, “This is a disaster” What I started doing instead was I created a room inspection chart of these are the expectations and I did points for different things, like nothing under the dresser, the sheets on the bed were clean and that the stuffed animals were put away. And so, by mapping that out, my kids knew exactly what my expectations were. And so, one of the things I started doing was with this little room inspection chart is I would go in and I would give them a ranking one through five and they had to get a certain number of points to be able to get their allowance for that week. 

But what I started doing is after a few weeks, I would have them give the rating and then we would talk about, “Well, why did you give this a three? I would give it a one.” Or, “Why did you give this a one? I would give this a five.” And I feel like just really kind of mapping out what exactly, what the room needed to look like, what clean was, really helped. But also giving them that idea of ownership over it. Really understanding what my expectations were and then eventually I no longer have to use the room inspection chart because they have a very clear understanding. 

Susan; 

I like that idea, like the shared vision. 

Tanya: 

Yes. It’s hard to share a vision if you haven’t communicated it though. 

Susan: 

Correct. 

Tanya: 

Yes. 

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Susan: 

But I guess my quandary is a little bit, I’m not exactly sure where to start. I don’t know. Do I start on just one chore per child? Or dol do, these are the maybe four chores you’re going to rotate and go through all those? I’m not exactly sure how to organize it to get it started. 

Tanya: 

Yeah, so I would start small. We can’t expect great things all of a sudden, so I would start small. I would start with maybe one chore, let’s say it’s room inspection. Just getting them all so that their rooms are clean and then build off of it from there. One week it’s room inspection and you let that go for two weeks and then you build on that. It’s those small steps leading to bigger steps. Adding onto it instead of giving them five chores at the same time, start with one and build up to that five chore or 10 chores or however many it is. 

I would start with the things that are probably the biggest thorns in your side. What’s the biggest irritation for you? Maybe it’s a clean room, maybe it’s the living room area or whatever it is. Start there and start 

them all kind of on that same area. Then you can feel accomplished and get a little small win. And that’ll help you build momentum to be encouraged to continue the delegation. And it will also encourage them to want to keep delegating or being a part of the team because they’re looking for accolades too, just like all the rest of us. 

Susan: 

Here’s another question for you. My kids, my girls share a room and my boys share a room. How do I get them to team together as opposed to blame each other? 

Tanya; 

That’s a good question. What I would say is the team mentality is something that takes time to build up. Really going together with them and maybe meeting with the group, the two kids who share the room to find out what the different expectations each of them have. Let’s say, child A really enjoys straightening up the beds, but child B really enjoys cleaning up the dressers, getting them to work together on their strengths and leaning into those weaknesses as well. 

Susan: 

And why I like that, that they’re both doing maybe the one task as opposed to you do your stuff, I do mine. 

Tanya: 

Yes. Because that’s when you start to have that individual, too much of that individual idea instead of the team mentality. Getting them to work together as a team really will help build that I think. 

Susan; 

That’s a great idea because I know a lot of times, they end up kind of shoving things on the other side of the room and blaming each other. 

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Tanya: 

Yes, I don’t think that ever ends. 

Susan: 

And I don’t want them to fight. 

Tanya: 

Well I hope this has helped Susan. I hope this has helped to give you a couple ideas of what you can do in moving forward. 

I want to talk about how we make the process of delegation easier in just a minute, but first, let’s have a quick word from today’s sp 

Today’s episode has been brought to you by, well me essentially and my company Inkwell Press. Now, right now we have one of our biggest sales of the year going on. It’s our, we don’t do Black Friday Sale because here’s the truth. Part of the reason why I love owning my own business is it allows me to take a stand and Black Friday is one of those things that I take a stand against. You see, my team is filled with a lot of amazing women, women who have families, women who want to enjoy the holiday, and I find that if you have a Black Friday sale, which for many companies is their biggest day of the year, it means that your employees, your team has to come back to work. And for me, Thanksgiving is a time for us to focus on our families. I want to focus on my family. 

I want my team to focus on their families as well. I don’t do Black Friday sales. I don’t do anything that takes away family time. One of my core values is family first and that is true at home. It is also true in my business and I hold fast to that. Yes, every business coach has told me I’m walking away from a big opportunity, but I can tell you this, life isn’t about the hustle and it sure isn’t about the money. I never want to be someone who runs my business on the bottom line of how much money I can make. I want to be a business that puts family first, first for me and first for my employees. There’s no Black Friday sale at Inkwell Press. When you’re looking for me on Black Friday, I’ll be with my family, eating too much, laughing with my family and maybe even taking a nap. It is Thanksgiving after all. 

But I know that you all enjoy the fun of shopping a sale and in the spirit of the holiday season we have a we don’t have black Friday sale going on right now. One of our biggest sales events of the year. If you’re like me and you want to put family first, this is your sale this year. I think you’re really going to like it because we really do offer some of our greatest discounts. Simply head to inkwellpress.com and you’ll see all the discount details there. 

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All right, let’s get back to this conversation with Susan because what I loved about our talk was the realness of it, the struggle with having kids do with what we need them to do. That can be such a frustration. I know firsthand. It feels like you know this needs to be done, so why aren’t you 

doing it? But it all goes back to that whole idea of communication. I think we talk about communication a lot here on the show, don’t we? Communicating our boundaries, communicating our needs, communicating our expectations. And truly good communication is so key, especially when it comes to delegating. 

Now I have a download that I’ve created to make this even easier. I find it often really helps to have a framework in place to help. You can download this free resource at Tanyadalton.com/podcast under episode 149. But let me walk you through the process that the download follows. The first step is deciding what are we delegating? Good tasks to delegate include teachable tasks. Remember, delegation is an opportunity for development and yes, this includes tasks that you have already mastered. Just because you’re good at something doesn’t mean you should always be the one to do it. Remember we just talked about that a few weeks ago with our boundaries episode. 

What other kinds of tasks? The teachable tasks, the ones that aren’t key parts of your job. Those things on our priority lists that are listed as accommodate. Yeah, those are ideal to delegate. Tasks that shouldn’t be yours in the first place, those are good to delegate. Errands, I’m looking at you here. Are you doing things for your kids that they could really do for themselves? Yeah, it’s time to let those go back where they belong. Delegation is development. I think I might have to keep saying this again and again to remind you. This is so good for your kids. 

The next thing, what do we want to do next? Who are we going to assign the task to? Think about who’s capable and keep in mind it’s good to delegate tasks that are sometimes just out of their current skill level. This’ll help challenge them a bit, help them to grow. Now, once you have this figured out, it’s time to call a meeting, and this is true if we’re 

delegating a work task or a home task, having an official kickoff meeting can make a huge difference. Including that person that you’re delegating to into that process helps them have more ownership and feel like they’re a part of the process. Again, this is true at work and at home. 

Now, the first thing you need to do when you’re leading this meeting is to start with why? Lead that conversation with pointing out why the task is important, not just to you, but also to your teammate, to your team, to your organization. Delegation is most effective if you can link the delegated task to your team’s goals and make your team members feel 

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like they’re an important part of making it all work. And be sure to include any background needed to help them feel like they understand the things that have happened before they came on. 

Now, sometimes this step isn’t necessary, but it’s good to think through if this project or task has been something that’s been ongoing. For example, with my kids, I’ll talk about how the task has happened in the past or even how they performed with similar tasks in the past. Next up, discuss what level of delegation you’re handing over. It’s important to assign accountability and responsibility. Now on the download, I have it listed with three levels. The top level is of course I want this done in a very specific way and I expect it done my way. Then the second level is a shared ownership. This is an idea though, it’s like, okay, you bring your ideas to the table, I bring my ideas to the table and maybe we meet back up to come up with a decision together. And then that third level of delegation is you have complete ownership. The person you’re delegating it to makes the decision, executes it and moves on. You want to take yourself out of the delegation process altogether. 

Decide which level you’re going to do. The full level where you’re fully in charge or it’s a little more shared or that lower level where it’s all them. This really helps because both you and the person you’re delegating to need to understand your expectations of how involved you’re going to be throughout the process. Are you going to be highly involved? Or do you just want it done? Depends on the project. 

Now, what are your expectations for the completed assignment or project? The clearer you are, the better. You heard in our conversation with Susan that example of the room inspection chart that I use with my kids. My idea of clean and their idea of clean, two very, very different definitions, but it’s really hard for people to achieve your expectations if you don’t clearly define them. Increase the chances of success by mapping out what a successful outcome should look like. 

And then now that you know the outcome, clearly define the steps needed. It can be incredibly helpful to go through the different steps of 

the task, especially if who you’re delegating it to is inexperienced. Be open, be thorough and discuss the possible alternatives that they might use to accomplish the results. I really like to make sure that my team members feel like they’re a part of this conversation, so I allow them to create their own instructions if I feel like they’re ready. I’ll ask them what steps do they think they need to do to accomplish the goal? And then I’ll explain maybe my ideas and ask for their comments, their suggestions and their questions. New ideas often emerge when you have these types of conversations with people on your team. 

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And the bonus here is it instills confidence in them that you believe in them. Just make sure to encourage questions and make sure that they understand everything. Now, one of the teacher tricks that I use with my children, and I actually sometimes use this even with my employees, is MI ask for them to kind of explain back to me what they need to do. Do you understand the expectations? Can you explain back to me what we’re thinking so I just know we’re on the same page. When they do that, it allows me to see if there’s gaps in their understanding and a lot of times those gaps are my fault, not theirs, that I haven’t explained something thoroughly enough or clearly enough. Having them explain it back to you really allows those little cracks and chinks, allows those to shine through 

And then to close out the meeting, collaborate on a deadline, brainstorm any tools or resources or possible budgetary needs, and then include that in the sheet and then it’s time to let it go. Give them a chance to succeed. You’ll want to check in on the progress from time to time, but no matter what you do, don’t take that project or task back unless you absolutely have to. There’s going to be some adjustments needed. There’s going to be some bumps down the road, but this is why we always keep our planning flexible. 

Now I know I went through those steps of delegation fairly quickly but having that download will be a really great place to start, so do make sure to grab that. You can get that at Tanyadalton.com/podcast under episode 149. Having a process and a structure to your delegation really will make a big difference. And we’re going to continue this idea of how do we build up our team, whether it’s our team at home or our team at work or our team at our volunteer organization or wherever it is with next week’s conversation where Christie and I are going to be talking about how to build in some team mentality with her own team. And I’m a really excited for you to listen in on that episode. 

Now just a quick reminder that that book club is going on. I’d love for you to join in, joyofmissingout.com/bookclub and in today’s book club, I’m going to be unveiling a really exciting part of what we’re going to be doing. If you’re familiar with me or Inkwell Press at all, you know philanthropy and giving back is a really important part of what I do and We’re going to be tying that in with the Joy of Missing Out because we’re going to be doing something with giving Tuesday that I think you’re really going to love. I’d love for you to tune in. I’ll also be sharing details in my newsletter because giving Tuesday is just around the corner. All right, until next time, have a beautiful and productive week. 

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