Delegating: 4 Simple Steps Leaders Can Take to Free Up Time While Getting More Done

If you hope to grow your revenue, your teams, and your company, you have to find a way to delegate. There’s simply no way around it.

In today’s episode, co-hosts Richard Lindner and Jeff Mask take on the evergreen, but ever-challenging, topic of delegation. Delegation is something all leaders need to take a look at annually (okay, and monthly, weekly, daily), but it’s especially timely right now. As we kick off a new year and aspire to achieve new goals, we realize we can’t continue to own everything we owned last year if we hope to grow this year. We’ve got to find a way to hand off tasks.

So how do we do it? Who do we delegate to? How do we let go of control? How do we set the person up for success?

Listen in as Richard and Jeff answer all of these important questions and more. 

The Delegation Doom Loop

If you’re paralyzed by fear at the very thought of delegation, you’re not alone. Maybe you’ve delegated in the past and gotten burned. Maybe you tried to delegate and ended up wasting a bunch of time and doing everything yourself anyway.

Jeff says that leaders often find themselves in a difficult doom loop when they try to delegate:

  1. I’m so overwhelmed
  2. I semi-delegate a critical task
  3. I semi-train someone on said task
  4. It doesn’t work out, and I take it back over
  5. Repeat 

But what if a simple mindset shift could make you sprint toward delegation instead of running away? What if you could delegate confidently and give up control easily? What if you could help your team truly own what you’re delegating, and then grow it beyond anything you could have done yourself? What if you really invested the time to train people well? What could happen in your future?

Most of us leaders have the human tendency to want to control things. This makes delegation challenging. But the more you delegate, the easier it gets. Your company can’t grow if you’re always holding on to the most important things. And it’s always the most important thing for where you’re at. It’s not the most important thing for where you want to go. If you don’t delegate, you’re always going to be treading water. You won’t get anywhere. 

It all starts with your mindset. Think of the top of that doom loop. You’re so busy. You’re so overwhelmed. Replace: “I’m so busy” with “I have all the time in the world.” And look at what happens to your energy and your thinking. When we think that way, rather than using busyness as a badge of honor, we have all the time in the world to go create and innovate. It enables our mind to delegate in a truer form, a way that’s more enduring and sustainable instead of coming from a place of scarcity and fear and franticness. 

The E.D.G.E. Framework for Delegation

Jeff learned a methodology 20 years ago as a Scout Master teaching 13-year-old boys. It’s called E.D.G.E.

  • Explain
  • Demonstrate
  • Guide
  • Enable

Explain the why behind the task you’re delegating. Help them understand why it matters to them, the purpose behind it. Give visual aids/examples to solidify the idea/end product.

Demonstrate the actual skill when done well. Show them what success looks like, all the while keeping in mind that they might do it a little differently than you do.

Guide them, coach them through the process. This is where you let them try and experiment, so it sinks deep into them, instead of just watching you, then being left on their own. This step takes time and patience. This is the key step we often skip—or go through too fast—when we’re delegating, and then we’re frustrated and they’re frustrated. And we’re back to the doom loop. 

Enable. They’re on their own, and you’ve set them up for success.

Roughly 5% of our time is spent explaining, 15% demonstrating, 80% guiding, and 0% enabling. Invest that time, and you eliminate the doom loop. It’s an amazing process. It just requires us to believe in people, to see them for who they can become and what they’re capable of. And give them the time and investment they deserve. Your future self will thank you. 

“You Don’t Need Me Anymore.”

There are several helpful delegation frameworks, but they’re all very similar to E.D.G.E. Delegation often fails because we’re so fixated on the task and “how I do it” and not the end result. We need to explain the why, not just the what. Then they get the essence of what you’re trying to accomplish.

It’s super powerful, super simple. It’s all about teaching the why, showing them how to do it, demonstrating what completion/success looks like, guiding them through, letting them try and try again, then letting go and saying “you’ve got this.” Of course you can be there if they need you in the future.

How do you know if they’re ready? Use the Rule of 3. If they do it once, good. If they do it twice, it’s a trend. If they can do it three times, they’ve got it. Have you been there to guide them through 3 successful completions of this? Then they’re ready.

Richard says there’s something really powerful about the phrase.  “You don’t need me anymore.” It’s different from “Go get ‘em, Champ. I’m rooting for you!” You’ve taken the time to give them every single tool they need. You’re not throwing them off the cliff and hoping they land on their feet. They’re set up for success.

When they’ve done the task well, Jeff likes to have a quick reflection moment. “Remember how you felt when I first told you that you were going to take this on? How did that feel? And how do you feel now?” Take that time to reflect, and let them bask in that confidence. It’s a pattern. It’s going to happen again. Repeat that to them. Remind them. 

They grow, you grow, the company grows. You now have all the time in the world to go after bigger goals and dreams. Remember, the mountain of leadership is summitless. We’ll never arrive. We have so far to go, and we’re fine with that. We’re all learning together and what a fun journey it is!

Richard and Jeff want to hear from YOU. Did something in today’s episode resonate with you? What insights or actionable items are you going to run with today? They’d love to hear your feedback on this episode. Email them here with your thoughts/questions: 


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