Everything I know about delegating

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Delegating must be one of the toughest leadership/management challenges, considering that almost everyone seems to struggle with it. Delegation affects people development, business growth, team motivation and success of the organization. Here’s a summary of what I’ve learnt about delegation…

Why we don’t delegate:

  • Insecurity – if they do it well I won’t be needed
  • Status – it’s ‘my’ job
  • Fear – what if they do it well; what if they can’t do it well
  • Love – it’s my favorite task

Why we must delegate:

  • To be a leader/manager, instead of a doer
  • To develop people – build trust, improve their self esteem, opportunity to reward/recognize others
  • To manage our time better; get more done in less time; focus on our own strengths
  • To build happy, motivated and successful teams

How to delegate effectively:

  • What – pick the tasks to delegate (considering the reason to delegate)
  • Who – find the best person to delegate to
  • How and when – communicate and establish clear objectives, expectations and deadline
  • Track – monitor progress and offer support if required; be patient
  • Recognize – give credit

And finally, some quotes to inspire you to delegate more and better:

Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.

When you delegate work to a member of the team, your job is to clearly frame success and describe the objectives.

The really expert riders of horses let the horse know immediately who is in control, but then guide the horse with loose reins and seldom use the spurs.

When you delegate tasks, you create followers. When you delegate authority, you create leaders.

If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.

Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it.

A star wants to see himself rise to the top. A leader wants to see those around him rise to the top.

And a final word: You can do anything, but not everything.

Free eBook: 12 Things You Need to Know About Happiness at Work!

Two of my colleagues and best friends from the training at Woohoo Academy, Fennande van der Meulen and Maartj Wolff of Happy Office, have just created this fantastic and comprehensive ebook, together with Gea Peper of HappinessBureau. And you can download your free copy here!

screen-shot-2017-01-08-at-7-57-53-pmHappy people are more productive, both in everyday life and at work. Paying attention to a happy work environment generates many benefits for employees, as well as the organisation itself.

Research shows that happiness at work results in less absence, fewer workplace accidents, reduced stress, more grati cation, happier clients and a higher quality of service. Reasons enough to put happiness on the agenda of every organisation. However one question arises: ‘How do you accomplish this?’ In this concise booklet, HappinessBureau and Happy Office will look at twelve topics that delve into the answer to this question. We provide a number of tools to achieve happiness at work…

The book covers many important aspects of happiness, including goal setting; measuring happiness; creating a culture of happy habits, fun and optimism; the value of passionate employees; leadership… and most importantly, how to get started on creating a happy office. Download it now, read it, apply it, share it… the world needs more happy offices 🙂

Celeste Headlee: 10 ways to have a better conversation

I just heard one of the best TED talks about conversations. Celeste Headlee covers everything I try to include in my 1-3 hours of training on communication skills, and even more, in just 12 minutes!

The ten tips are:

  1. Don’t multi-task. Be fully present.
  2. Don’t pontificate. Set aside your personal opinions.
  3. Use open-ended questions.
  4. Go with the flow. Let your own thoughts come and go.
  5. If you don’t know, say you don’t know.
  6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. It’s not about you.
  7. Don’t repeat yourself.
  8. Stay out of the details.
  9. Listen! Be interested.
  10. Be brief.

I also loved these quotes from the talk:

  • “If your mouth is open, you are not learning.” -Buddha
  • “No man ever listened his way out of a job.” -Calvin Coolidge
  • “Most of us don’t listen with the intent to understand; we listen with the intent to reply.” -Stephen Covey

5 things to do while looking for a job

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Whether you are starting fresh, have just been set free (fired) or are in between jobs, looking for a new job can be extremely frustrating. Here are some tips to keep you sane, make the most of the time and even increase your chances of landing a job:

  1. Make the best of your time. While most people complain about not having enough time to do everything they want to do, you have all the time in the world. You can waste it by sleeping more, watching more TV, spending more time on the Internet etc. Or you can do more productive things like reading, writing, exercise, travel etc. But the best investment of your time is in learning things that will increase your ‘market value’ e.g. learn a language; teach yourself advanced computer skills; start a blog on something you care about… Wake up at six in the morning and do one or more of these as a “job”.
  2. Stay motivated. You hear about the bad economy, increased competition, unemployment rate, market conditions etc. but you manage to motivate yourself and start sending lots of applications. After a few interviews the ‘facts’ start to sink in and you start getting depressed. You allow your self-esteem and your confidence level to drop. Now you are not as enthusiastic and motivated at interviews; you get some more rejections; you get even more depressed… and the cycle repeats itself. Don’t let that happen. Be prepared for 100 interviews before getting a job, and do your best at every one of them. See each interview as part of the process, as another step towards the destination.
  3. Use all the resources. Remember that somebody somewhere wants to hire someone exactly like you. The more you reach out, the better your chances of connecting with that someone. Find job listings in every newspaper, magazine and website. Talk to headhunters – they are not just for top-level jobs. Connect with everyone you have ever known; social media like Facebook, Linkedin etc. make it easier than ever to find long lost friends and make new ones. Don’t be shy in letting the world know that you are looking for a job.
  4. Volunteer. Whether for a cause that you care about or at a job that interests you, volunteering allows you to keep busy, stay motivated and make new connections with potential employers.
  5. Try direct sales. Most direct selling companies are always hiring people without any relevant experience, regardless of the economic conditions. Good direct selling companies offer free training, excellent products, above-average income potential and regular motivation, and do not require more than 4-6 hours of daily commitment. It’s an excellent way to improve your communication skills, learn how to motivate yourself, make lots of new contacts and even make some money while looking for “the job”.

In summary, get out and get busy; have some daily routine; stay active and in touch with your field; learn new skills; try new things. Any employer will prefer to hire someone who has been busy and active, who has been doing ‘stuff’ while being ‘jobless’. Don’t wait to get lucky; the harder you work, the luckier you will get. Good luck!