Nicholas C. Zakas talked about delegation in a newsletter a while back.

I remember my first experience with delegating was making the choice to hire people in the early CSS-Tricks years. I wanted to do it because entirely because of time. There was just too much to do and if I could delegate stuff, I could get time back. Theoretically even have more time to focus on things I’m better at. That happened. Worked out pretty well, all told.

Nicholas says there are two ways you might feel.

The first thing you may feel is a sense of grief — you are losing something that was part of your identity. You have been the go-to person for these types of projects and now you’ll need to give that up. That is hard. It’s normal to feel a loss at this point, and that feeling can make it hard to hand off that task. It feels like giving away a part of yourself to someone else, and you won’t be the one to have the fun implementing it or get the credit when it succeeds.

I get that. I have to mentally put on different shoes to feel it anymore though, as at this point in my career I simply cannot wait to give up tasks. Please, for the love of god, take my tasks. You can have the fun and the credit, I promise.

And then:

A second common resistance is related to the performance of the person you’ve delegated to: will they complete the task in time? Will they complete it with the same commitment to quality that you have? What if they get stuck and need to ask for help?

This one will be hard forever because it’s likely after delegation the buck still stops with you. If they don’t do things in time, you’ll have to step in. If they don’t do things well, you’ll have to step in. If they need help, you’ll be doing the helping. All of that is fine and the hope is things improve over time. But they don’t always improve over time, so a delegation attempt might end up a total waste of time and resources. Happens.

Do you know what the big hesitancy for me considering my first attempts at delegation? It was entirely money. Every dollar you spend delegating is a dollar you no longer have. If you give a kid forty bucks to mow your lawn, that’s easy. But even part-time employees aren’t forty bucks, they likely represent some major cash outlay that doesn’t just feel like a hell of a risk — it is a hell of a risk.

No pain, no gain.

Jane Fonda VHS tapes



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