10 Signs That You Need to Delegate, and Three Ways to Make It Happen

Few of us were born with a natural ability to delegate, yet it is a key skill needed when working with and through people.  How well do you delegate?  Here is a quick test:

The Top 10 Signs You Need Better Delegation Skills

#10. You are disorganized.

#9. You fix your staff’s mistakes.

#8. The place cannot run without you.

#7. You have unused vacation time.

#6. You work long hours.

#5. Your staff need approval for small things.

#4. Assignments are misunderstood.

#3. Low morale.

#2. High turnover.

#1. You have no time for reflection and strategic thinking.

If you can identify with any of these signs, then you join the majority of leaders who lack the innate ability to delegate well.   Take heart, delegation is a primary skill that you can learn using the

Three Steps to Effectively Delegate:

Step 1:  Build a Frame

Think of your task as building a picture frame made with SMART Goals set WITH your staff. Make goals Specific, Measurable, Agreed upon, Realistic, and Time-bound.

But don’t stop there, delegate full responsibility by setting Empowerment Rules.  Empowerment Rules are “If…Then…” statements that consider common situations and contingencies you discuss when setting SMART Goals so if these situations occur, then your staff know what to do.

And, here is an Empowerment Rule for you, if your staff come back to you with a problem, then take the time to train them or discuss how THEY can solve the situation, never reassume responsibility for a task you have delegated, if you do, then you are training them that you will do their work, and everyone will be frustrated.

Step 2:  Maintain Rapport

Once you have built the frame, establish ongoing communication so you can identify opportunities for training, or renegotiation of goals or rules.  This lets your staff know that you care.  Set a schedule of specific check points together.  And, check in as planned, or risk losing rapport.

Step 3:  Let Them Paint

This may be the hardest part as you will need to let go and get out of the way.  If you have built the frame appropriately, and continue to maintain rapport, then it is up to your staff to “paint the picture.”  Be patient, likely they won’t do it well or quickly their first time.  But, open up to the possibility that, once they learn to do it, they may find new innovative ways to accomplish the task.  If it does not go well, then you can provide coaching and counseling.

Delegation, done well, has many benefits:

  • Delegation develops and motivates your staff.
  • You, as a team, get more done.
  • It creates a succession of professionals who can assume leadership in your absence.
  • It provides you with your most valuable resource…time.
  • The discovery of fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.

Working with and through people is an art, and few of us were born with a natural ability to delegate well.   Taking the time to learn better delegation skills will pay off in numerous ways for you, your staff, and your business.


This article was graciously posted in the July 6th, 2017 San Luis Obispo Chamber of Commerce e-Newsletter, and now here for you!

Stressed? Relax, There’s Time For Everything!

It’s that time of year again…how are you doing?  Running around like a crazy person shopping, cooking, making appearances at events, going to parties, AND working full time.  It’s enough to make you want to give up on this whole Christmas thing.

Well, Relax!

Research says if you relax you will get more done…really!  At first it seems counter intuitive, but it’s not.  Making time to workout, spending quality time building relationships with co-workers, making the effort to eat healthy, and yes, getting more sleep gives you the energy to get more done, and do it better.  And that’s what we need this time of year, more energy to get more done!

Parkinson’s Law of Time

No, it’s not Santa’s Elves at work here, it is Parkinson’s Law of Time, a law you can use all year round.  I used this law of time forever, but first put a name to it when I read Tim Ferris’ “4-Hour Work Week.”

The idea is that a task will grow and shrink depending on the amount of time you give it.  And we are more productive and do our best work when we have shortened deadlines that force us to focus intensely on the task’s completion.

Shortened Deadlines + Intense Focus = Higher Quality Results

Think of a time when you procrastinated on a task.  Yet, at the 11th hour, you hunkered down, got organized, pulled out all your resources, and not only got it done, but did a great job!  This experience is not uncommon.  Rather than think of it as a fluke or a stroke of great luck, embrace this style of working, using Parkinson’s Law of Time to boost your productivity, increase your work performance, and improve your health by finding better balance and sleeping more!

It may be the busiest time of the year, but you can focus and make time for everything!

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2017 Employment Law Changes


2017 is upon us and it is time to consider if you are prepared for the upcoming changes to employment law.  Here are seven questions to ask yourself and resources to be sure you are ready to take off in 2017.

  1. Are your wages in line with the increase in minimum wage and the exempt status threshold? As I hope you know by now, employers will be dealing with changing wage regulations for the foreseeable future, so set a plan that can be used as a pattern for the future.  Your employees will feel better supported and trust you if you are consistent in how you handle this from year to year.  Additionally, consistency will make your life less stressful if you and everyone else knows what to except each year.
  2. Is your Employee Handbook (and all related employee documentation) up to date with the new 2017 California Labor Laws? Best practice is to update your Employee Handbook every six months, annually at a minimum, to mitigate any exposure.  Contact your insurance broker or associations you belong to for a 2017 Employee Handbook Template.  To make it easy, find a template you like and stick to it each year, schedule this important activity to ensure it gets done.  Make sure you communicate the changes to your employees, and that the supervisory staff clearly understand what they need to do to protect your organization and themselves.
  3. Are all your HR staff versed in the current employment laws governing your industry? If not, this is the perfect time to register everyone in your department for a legal law update—this is a vital talent development activity for all Human Resource staff, and sending everyone in your department demonstrates that you care about each person’s professional growth.  Here is an idea, send everyone to a different event and compare notes.  Here in the central coast we have a number of excellent options throughout the area.  Here are two of my favorite events, there are other good ones too:
    1. Human Resource Association of the Central Coast Annual Legal Update 11:30am, Tuesday, January 10, 2017 at the Madonna Inn, San Luis Obispo
    2. Employee Advisory Council Employment Law Update, Friday, February 10th in Paso Robles. Information and details will be coming soon.
  4. Does your Employment Application include questions about convictions? Review this carefully to be sure you are not at risk of asking anything illegal.  As with all questions during the application and interview process, only ask questions that are directly related to the job.  CalChamber has a solid Employment Application Template in long and short form, take a look and revise yours as necessary.
  5. Are you using the new electronic I-9 fillable form? I know it is not required until January 22nd, 2017, but why not start using it now.  Here is a link:  New I-9 Form
  6. Have you conducted a pay equity audit to include disparities based on race, ethnicity, AND gender? Not sure where to start, here is a link to an article that may help:  Reducing the Risks of Pay Discrimination Claims: Employer Pay Equity Audits
  7. Is this the year for your mandatory AB 1825 Anti-Harassment Training? If so, what is your plan?  Marcove Executive Training can help, we have an affordable, off the shelf AB 1825 compliant training program ready to go whenever you need it.  Call me at 805-235-3518 or write kathy@marcovetrainig.com  to schedule this important training to keep you in compliance with California Labor Law.

Happy Holidays!

Kathy Marcove, Master Trainer and Organizational Success Coach