“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.”
As men, our natural inclination is to take charge of a situation, even if it means doing it ourselves. While this means we have full control of the outcome, it also means we’re not utilizing our time and resources to the best of our ability. It becomes an issue of opportunity costs. If you’re wasting time doing menial tasks, it means you can’t use that time doing something that adds more value to your family’s life.
Law 7 forces us to be introspective and decide if a task should be handled personally or if it can be delegated to others, in this case, members of your family. This poses three key questions:
- Who should I delegate the task to?
- Why should I delegate this task to them?
- How should I delegate the task to them?
In the rest of this article, we will discuss the methods used to answer the above questions as well as the benefits to delegating tasks to others even if you believe you could do the job better yourself.
You Do Not Possess Said Skill
While you should constantly working to increase the breadth and depth of your skills, there will simply be things you either do not know or aren’t as skilled in as someone else in your family. Now is a perfect opportunity to delegate the task to said person. Why struggle to do a mediocre job when your wife, for example, can easily do it better? The same works in reverse as well, of course.
This will save many frustrating instances for the entire family, if you delegate to those who are the most capable. That being said, you should at least be competent in all of the daily duties in case you’re stuck running the household solo for a time, like when your wife is ill.
As most of you have experienced, waking up early, busting butt at work, and coming home only to continue the grind will wear you down to a nub. In most instances, there is no reason for this.
Get the whole family involved with the household chores. It’s okay to be a bit selfish and reserve some personal time to relax and unwind. A Biblical scripture that I like to ponder over can be broken down even further to help illustrate this point:
“If anyone does not provide for his own, and especially his own household, he has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”
-1 Timothy 5:8
This passage speaks to the importance of taking care of those closest to you, your wife and kids, before taking care of anyone else. Taken even further, in order to even be able to take care of your own family, you must first take care of yourself.
Burning yourself out trying to micromanage everything is akin to killing the goose that lays the golden eggs. No more prosperity will be created.
For many of the men out there, we are naturally inclined to dive in and get our hands dirty on a project. It takes a great deal of trust to pass the reins on to someone else. If you’re well-known for taking the lead in your family, which you should be, delegating an important task to your wife or kids tells them you trust them explicitly, high praise indeed.
Trust is a circle. The more you put your trust in your family, the more they will trust you in return. As with everything else, it starts with you.
Builds Skillsets in Others
I’m not to this point yet, with my oldest child only being five years old, but I can imagine the pride I’ll feel when my children can do adult tasks such as mowing the lawn, cooking meals for the family, or working on the car.
These accomplishments are done by baby steps. Let your kids help with the chores and as they become more proficient, slowly them them take the wheel until they are able to do it by themselves.
As fathers, part of our duty is to prepare our children to take care of themselves long after we’re gone. While we might be compelled to do everything for them either out of wanting to protect them or our own OCD behavior (guilty), we’d be doing our children a great disservice by not letting them fail, struggle, and finally succeed on their own.
Take the Credit(?)
In the corporate world, this might be different, but with your family don’t be afraid to praise your wife and kids for their accomplishments. Let them know they did a good job and you are proud of them.
A good leader is confident enough in his position to praise a job well done. Even though you’re not getting credit directly, you’ll be looked up to as the husband/father who knows how to get a job done and who’s best equipped to do it.
This is one of the toughest aspects of leadership to master, but also one of the most crucial. Even in the victory lap of others, you’re still receiving part of the credit for your wise and benevolent leadership abilities.
Delegating tasks to others is about finding win-win situations, leveraging each individual’s skills and passions to keep things running as smoothly as they can while also maximizing everyone’s downtime to pursue other ventures.
Your reward in this whole process is seeing your family thrive and be capable of keeping everything in order even if you are down due to injury, illness, or out on business.
It’s a strange combination of selfishness and investing in others, namely your wife and kids. If done properly, everyone benefits. The kids feel like they’re contributing, your wife knows you trust her explicitly, and you have the free time to hustle on larger projects or side ventures.
That being said, this all falls apart if you delegate all the responsibilities to your family and you go sit on the couch to watch TV. This will breed resentment and ultimately tear the whole process apart. If you are delegating tasks to your family so you can have more free time, you better be doing something of value with that free time. This isn’t a hard a fast rule, sometimes you may just need a break, but that should be the exception to the rule instead of the norm.