Three Tips for Learning to Give Up Control

Joe Weinlick
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Constantly micromanaging your team is a waste of time, and it creates a stressful work environment. It’s imperative to your team’s success that you learn how to relinquish control. Delegating work to employees gives you time to focus on management tasks, and trusting employees to complete projects shows them that you know that they will do the job right. By mastering the art of letting go, you can create a happy, productive work environment.

The two most common reasons why managers don’t delegate work to others are:

  • They don’t trust others to do the job correctly.
  • They can’t – or won’t – take the time to train someone to do the job right.

Regardless of your reason, the first step to delegating work to others is to determine what tasks you want to let go and train someone to do the job. Make a list of the tasks you want others to handle, then choose a reliable person for each task. Don’t assume that your employees won’t want to take on extra work. Trusting an employee to take control of a project is a compliment. It shows your employees that you have faith in them and that you know they are good at their jobs.

Creating a clear, detailed list of what each task entails makes delegating work easier. Create a step-by-step process for each project that includes what you plan to accomplish, a project deadline and a schedule for tracking the project’s progress. Reviewing this information with your employees before delegating work ensures that everyone is on the right page. You still maintain some control by telling them exactly what to do, telling them how to do the work and maintaining a schedule so you know that the project is on the right track.

Keep your focus on the final results and completion of the project. Every person is different, so you can’t expect employees to do everything exactly the way you do. You need to allow room for slight variations in creativity and work style. Remember, as long as the project is completed on time and correctly delegating work is a win-win situation. Your job is to manage your team by focusing on management tasks. Part of this is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team members. As long as you’ve chosen a skilled, talented individual for the task, you have to trust that the job will get done right. Plus, by checking in with the employee for occasional project updates you’ll know if the project isn’t going as planned.

While delegating work isn’t always easy, it’s one of the most important management tasks. By getting to know your team, matching the person to the project and maintaining a structured process, it becomes easier to let go of control.


(Photo courtesy of iosphere at


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