Just this week, our newly hired Vice President of Sales and I were talking about delegation. He kept asking for me to give him stuff and I kept reminding myself it was okay to let go of certain things. My fellow control freak friends will understand this. However, there is a lot to be said for delegation and much has been said about what it is and how to do it, but are there some things you shouldn’t delegate. Yes, I believe there are, namely one that is most important: your relationships. Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t and if you do, why it could spell disaster:
Whether your relationships are with vendors, clients, or internal employees, when you hire someone new, they usually have no connection with the people you know or have worked with for a while. Because you know them, there is a connection and a history. Both bring ease and comfort to conversation, allow for more effective networking and idea sharing, and keeps your relationship alive. If you back out of that connection or have someone else take your place in that relationship, the connection is lost, or at minimum, different … forever.
The longer you’ve known someone, the more casual communication can sometimes become. There is a level of familiarity you develop with clients you’ve known for years. In fact, if you’ve ever gotten an email from me that starts with “Hi there” or “Hello sunshine”, you know what I’m talking about. It’s a sign that there is a friendship there and when you off load or delegate communication with those you know to someone who doesn’t know them, their professional, less conversational tone will be off-putting or even offensive.
Before I wrote my first book or opened my own firm, I was teaching customer service training programs with a public seminar company. Through research for those classes, I learned the number one way to build customer confidence in your product or service: Make an immediately resolved mistake. It sounded so strange to me, but it appears true. Chances are, if you’re a senior leader, that there are customers you’ve worked with initially because there was a problem. They came to you to complain or for a solution and you fixed it. They trust you and they don’t have that confidence with others. Don’t lose their confidence by pawning them off to someone else who hasn’t proven their skills in fixing things.
When your organization or department experiences growth, it is easy to begin shifting roles and responsibilities and change who does what. That may encompass who handles conversations with vendors or these customers or this team. However, keep in mind that every organizational chart has a few dotted lines, even if they’re not officially written down. Your dotted lines may represent the relationships you’ve cultivated over time or experience. For the continued growth of your business and your own relationships, be careful about delegating the connection with those you know or they may feel slighted and find somewhere else to go for what you know.
I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment.
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