Why Mastering Delegation is Crucial in the Gig Economy


In my own, personal life, I’ve seen massive shifts in delegation since i have began to engage regularly with freelancers. I get more done, and the projects reap the benefits of the contributions of experts. I also get to save money time with my family, doing things all of us enjoy.

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I also spend lots of my time writing and teaching on the Gig Mindset. Both writing and teaching need a great deal of communication. In addition to speaking at conferences, I deliver a weekly newsletter to more than 60,000 people and record regular podcasts.

I call this process the Gig Mindset.

The Gig Mindset involves making my network of freelancers my first port of call when I’ve something to perform. Every component of the Gig Mindset takes practice. By far, the hardest, in my experience, is delegation.

Delegation requires one to let the others run along with your ideas.

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It’s difficult because, to delegate successfully, you need to be prepared to give up get a handle on. It takes courage to improve your mind-set, trust in people with diverse backgrounds, and radically reinvent how you work and live.

To truly engage what is possible in the Gig Economy, however, delegation crucial. Let’s break up what I mean by delegation in a Gig Mindset context — and exactly why it’s this important skill.

Giving up Control

What is delegation? When I use the term, I’m not simply saying that you tell a freelancer what you need to be achieved. Imagine you’ve ordered an Uber. The app enables you to plot your journey and dial in the exact spot to be dropped off. When you get in the car, you could ride the entire way in silence. Maybe, as you approach your destination, you offer a few bits of clarity to guide in those last few blocks. Think about the trust you just placed in your driver.

Could you have sat down in the passenger seat, app out, playing navigator the entire time? Sure. You could also just drive your self if you need to have that much control. Delegation means stepping back from the driver’s seat and trusting your freelancer to follow along with directions and get questions when they get stuck.

Right now, I’ve people that do web research and data to support my arguments and narratives around a variety of topics. I have a professional who does motion graphics. I’ve another editor for videos. Sometimes I would like graphs and charts predicated on the data I’ve sourced to support articles and newsletters.

All of these tasks represent some body I’ve delegated to. Someone I’ve trusted to run with my guidelines. This is the form of delegation that may allow you to thrive in the Gig Economy.

Conferring Authority on Your Team

The reason delegation is difficult is that it takes you to assign both responsibility and authority to the freelancers with whom you work.

Responsibility is easy. When you hire someone regular, you are providing them with responsibility. It’s part of their job description. When you delegate to someone, you’re assigning them authority. They can make decisions based on your instructions along with your intent. You are trusting them to produce the right choices in pursuit of a shared goal, for which you are ultimately accountable. For more and more people I’ve met, that is the scariest thing imaginable.

I can’t emphasize enough how hard that idea was for me but still is for folks who are starting to work with out a shared context. Human beings have difficulty seeing how delegation can be a blessing.

If we’re honest with ourselves, it appears like a threat. We all have that expectation that people are “the only ones who can do this task.” We tell ourselves that we’re the only one who can take action. If we don’t do it personally, it just won’t get done. Or it won’t get done right.

For anyone who has managed a team of people, you realize delegating won’t lead to the same final result as doing something your self. But I’ll bet that you have experience of getting things done through delegation.

No matter the task, you and your team pulled through. And that diversity of thought made the project better. Different doesn’t equal worse. Working with a broad group of people adds new voices and perspectives and helps find new solutions to many different challenges.

When I engage with freelancers and gather a wider team, I gain knowledge. My life experience is limited to my gender, my race, the neighborhood I grew up in, and the schools I attended, along with the organizations and industries where I worked.

What looks “right” if you ask me is fixed and rigid. Adding in the perspectives of people from around the world teaches me just how to connect on a whole new level. It makes the market research better, designs products and services better, and forces me to improve my management skills and communication.

The Gig Mindset is not just a shallow pond. You can’t just dip in your toes, mess around, and then get back to your old lifestyle. In fact, you need to come to this with just a little faith, the belief this will work. You have to lean into it, dive into the deep end with the expectation that—for just a moment—you will be completely underwater.

How to Communicate Effectively

The number 1 challenge, the number one place where people struggle, is communication. I’ve seen it from a large number of people. They struggle with just how to communicate their expectations to someone who might not have a shared context; to give up get a handle on and trust.

The “control” problem isn’t exclusive to business relationships. Control affects an incredible number of intimate relationships too. Couples counseling is a huge industry in the United States — becasue of the “control” issue.

Now they need to articulate those tasks. They have to provide specific instructions after which just leave. For many people, this is new. It’s easy to sit in a gathering and just talk, but far more difficult when you have to publish a descriptive project brief to delegate.

It’s understandable. Your tasks are so innate to you. If you closed your eyes, you could picture every detail. Now you need to work with a person who doesn’t share that context, and you need to place your entire hopes and expectations in to them. It’s a real learning process.

Delegation isn’t just saying, “Go do this.” It’s building expectations, setting timelines, and really engaging with one of these experts. To delegate is to get your vision on paper with examples of items that inspire you.

Effective delegation is inviting the other individual to supply guidance –to you– how they work and feedback on your thinking. It’s trusting that they are professionals and desire to deliver the very best. Most of all, it’s about having an open and curious mind through the duration of the process.

Delegation in Action

Let’s use an example to illustrate how delegation works—and how it doesn’t work. You have to cater to an operating lunch for a group of ten. Now, in the event that you were to ask a virtual assistant to discover a place to eat, you’d return a pretty bland response. Maybe something on the list would fit your preferences, but it will be a roll of the dice. What about dietary restrictions or allergies? In this case — you’ve provided too little information and context to expect a great result.

So, you go back to the freelancer, however, you ask an even more detailed question: “I’d like somewhere to order lunch. It needs to be within fifteen miles of my office, my boss prefers Italian, and it needs to be vegan-friendly. Also, we are capped at $30 a person.”

You’ve provided the same request but with context. You want something specific, however, not so specific that the request is redundant. If I engaged a va and said, “I’d like to eat at McDonald’s tonight,” I’ve wasted our time and my money.

The sweet spot lies in providing enough information to your freelancer for them to keep coming back with specific recommendations that meet your needs, however, not so much that their input is redundant. To delegate efficiently, you need to know what you need, create a brief, then trust an expert to satisfy that brief.

A Delegation Revolution

To do well at delegation, you have to be clear in what you gain. It is about your relationship with time. You have to return and look at all the tasks with this project. What are the trade-offs? What has to go? No matter what you do in life, your time is finite.

Whether you work in the mailroom or the top-floor corner office, you have the same quantity of hours in a day. You can’t do everything you want. You can’t even do all the tasks you need to do, at the least not alone. So, you need to begin looking at your lifetime and selecting those items you can delegate out. What can you quit, relinquish all control of, so you can have significantly more time and space?

Radical delegation is about practice. Start delegating with small tasks, which leads one to more complex tasks. Do several projects in the virtual system. Engage with a virtual assistant on a single of the platforms and practice giving detailed guidelines. You’re perhaps not writing pages and pages of notes, just a few bulleted guidelines.

Giving up control is hard. It takes time. But it becomes much easier as you build your trusted network of freelancers. The goal is to locate your tribe. After a little while, you will see that your value isn’t the get a handle on. Your value comes with the exponential opportunities you create by engaging with these experts.

When you empower your employees to use the Gig Mindset, you put in a force multiplier to your team. Each person becomes an engine of activity, bringing in expertise that you couldn’t have expected before.

Do you’ve got a special project you want to do at the office? Or a family group activity that keeps being pushed straight back? Or a vacation to visit relatives and buddies? Find a freelancer, brief them thoroughly, then stand back and invite them to complete their job.

For more suggestions about mastering delegation, you can find Gig Mindset on Amazon.

Paul Estes

Paul Estes is an unstoppable advocate for the gig economy who is specialized in creating chance of everyone, reskilling by doing, and bringing diversity to the work. After twenty years of driving innovation in Big Tech (Dell, Microsoft, Amazon), Paul transitioned into working as an independent, remote freelancer. He shares his insights from main stages as a keynote speaker and will be offering his thoughts and advice through articles on LinkedIn. By engaging with freelancers, Paul gets exponentially more done at the office and has more hours for his wife and two daughters. He’s the author of the best-selling book, Gig Mindset: Reclaim Your Time, Reinvent Your Career, and Ride the Next Wave of Disruption.



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Why Mastering Delegation is Crucial in the Gig Economy

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