As an ADHD entrepreneur myself, I understand the overwhelming struggle of delegation. Managing a business while contending with the unique challenges of ADHD can make effective delegation feel like an insurmountable task.
There are so many solutions to overcome the hurdles of delegation, we just need to uncover them. In this article, we’re going to talk about why you struggle with delegation if you have ADHD, and you’re going receive advice about the delegation process that you can actually apply to your business.
The Importance of Delegation in Entrepreneurship
The important thing to understand first and foremost is that delegation isn’t simply an avenue for you to get rid of tasks that you don’t want to do. Instead, it’s an act of strategy to make your business run more smoothly and efficiently. Delegation is a seriously powerful tool, but it can only be that way if it’s used correctly. The point of it is to free yourself of mundane tasks that others can do just as well, if not better than you. This way, you’re free to tackle higher value tasks and increase productivity.
So if delegation is so great for ADHD entrepreneurs, why is it so challenging to do properly?
Recognising the ADHD Barriers to Delegation
While delegation is great for your ADHD mind, your ADHD is the very thing that gets in the way of an effective delegation process. Things like planning, proper communication and long-term goal-setting are common pitfalls to delegation. Besides these, there are mental barriers that can also keep you from delegating, such as:
- Fear of rejection or criticism from employees
- Reluctance to delegate tasks that bring enjoyment or satisfaction despite their low-level necessity
- A tendency to believe it’s quicker and easier to do it yourself
Recognising and understanding these barriers is the first step towards overcoming them and harnessing the power of delegation.
Improving Delegating Skills and Tools
Improving your delegation skills is not a one-stop shop to fix it; this isn’t an auto repair shop. Delegation requires a dynamic approach to fit the needs of ADHD entrepreneurs.
Delegating in All Directions
The first thing to recognise with delegation is the diversity of your group. You may work with team members, co-founders and customers, that all have different interests and skills. Effective delegation involves utilising all types of workers:
- Team Members: Regularly review and delegate tasks based on your team’s evolving competence and capacity. Be clear about responsibilities and expected outcomes.
- Co-founders or Peers: Keep communication lines open. Mutual delegation based on strengths and capabilities can enhance overall efficiency.
- Customers: Yes, customers! For example, instead of customising products/services for each customer, set a base model and provide options for customers to customise themselves.
Addressing Emotional Factors in Delegation
While business may seem to lack any emotional factors, they play a significant role in delegating tasks and products, especially if you have ADHD. This is why many people don’t, but should, understand how to address the following emotional facets of delegation.
Embrace Vulnerability and Communication
Create and encourage an environment where open communication is a free commodity for your team members and co-founders. The culture of your workplace environment, whether in-person or remote, should be a place that supports communication surrounding proper delegation. Your team members should be able to comfortably discuss challenges with tasks, seek assistance and provide feedback without fear of push back or judgment.
Addressing the Physical Aspects of Delegation
Outside of the emotional factors of delegation, there are physical tools that you should pay attention to when assigning tasks. Solid delegation requires addressing all angles of a business, not just the emotional welfare of team members.
Utilise Visual Tools for Clear Instructions
Visual tools is one great way to help individuals with ADHD provide clear instructions for tasks. Video tutorials and screencasts give you the ability to make a step-by-step process for members to follow, ensuring that they fully understand what it being asked of them.
Platforms like Loom or OBS Studio allow for easy recording and sharing of instructional videos with your team. Visual instructions enhance engagement and facilitate better understanding and implementation.
Common Areas Entrepreneurs and Founders Need to Delegate
You can’t properly delegate if you don’t have a full view of the areas that require it. To optimise your time and focus, you need to understand the strategic aspects of your business where delegation is crucial.
Scheduling, email management, data entry and other administrative tasks is an area where ADHD entrepreneurs can easily delegate. ADHD entrepreneurs in this area struggle with the organisation and focus that’s required for these tasks, and their expertise isn’t necessarily needed for them.
Marketing and Social Media
Social media management and marketing can be a daunting task for people with ADHD because of the mundane nature of it, coupled with the constant need for engagement and attention. The spontaneity of ADHD brains struggle to keep up with this demand, which is why delegating it to someone else who’s just as capable is a good option.
Overseeing financial aspects, like bookkeeping, budgeting, and financial analysis, is vital for entrepreneurs. It’s an unavoidable aspect of business, and it’s also one that ADHD makes a challenge. Keeping track of records, payment deadlines and budgeting is a villain to ADHD, as it requires solid memory, time management and the lack of impulsivity. Delegating this task to someone skilled in finances can be a game-changer.
Sometimes you’re a people person, and sometimes you’re not. For ADHD entrepreneurs, it’s difficult to remain attentive and responsive to customers, creating a lack of customer satisfaction. ADHD business owners may also feel insecure about their communication, which can also lead to further delays in response. Social media managers are often also skilled in customer service, so delegating this task can be a smooth transition that doesn’t require your expertise as the owner.
Overcoming Delegation Challenges Posed by ADHD
Maybe you’ve tried to delegate before in all these areas and it hasn’t worked out. But why? This is where delegating properly comes in. Let’s take a look at the following ways you can ensure you’re properly delegating in your business.
Delegate to the Right People
The diversity of your team comes with a unique set of skills, proficiencies and passions. The individuals you delegate tasks to must align with the work at hand. You have to consider the strengths and experience that your team members have, as well as the workload that they can feasibly handle. For example, someone that’s only available for 5 hours a week probably shouldn’t handle your social media accounts due to the attention it requires.
When a team member is passionate and excited toward a project, they are more likely to engage with it and complete it to the best of their ability. They feel a sense of ownership of their delegated tasks and have a desire to complete them successfully.
Sometimes, you’re not the right person for a task, no matter how much passion or interest you have towards it. Do a scan to objectively indicate which tasks are better completed by someone else, even if it’s a task that you want to spend time on.
Provide Clear Instructions
Your team members can’t successfully complete a task that you delegate if they don’t know what’s expected of them. Clearly communicating the objectives and goals that you want them to meet is imperative in their success. Outline and deliver all the necessary information and resources they may need to succeed. This will require proper time-management and organisation from you, so make sure are using task-tracking apps, reminders and alerts to keep you on task with this.
Set Reminders and Deadlines
Don’t be afraid to implement reminders and deadlines as part of your delegation. If your work environment already encourages open communication, this shouldn’t be a problem. Use visual and auditory reminders for both yourself, as a reminder to check up on delegated tasks, as well as for team members that are completing them. Deadlines aren’t a bad thing to use, but it’s also not the end of the world if they aren’t met at times.
Implement Systems and Tools
Utilise project management software, task-tracking apps, and automation tools to streamline processes, provide structure, and reduce cognitive load. Don’t skimp on using ADHD strategies for all tasks, even if the person completing it is neurotypical. These strategies can still be useful for them and you to communicate needs, objectives and progress.
There’s been a significant focus on SOPs (Standard Operating Processes) in recent years. These are a form of delegation, in that they give easy options for employees to follow, and for you as the founder to keep them up to date with your knowledge.
Prioritise Self-Care and Time Management
Structure and freedom can exist within the same space, encouraging productivity coupled with necessary self-care. Establish routines and accompany them with time-management techniques, but also leave room in work schedules to prioritise self-care. Encourage your employees to take advantage of self-care and appropriate breaks. A burnt out team member is way less valuable than one that’s rested and motivated.
My Own Unique Tips for Delegation as an ADHD Entrepreneur
In my experience, the cornerstone of effective delegation lies in the careful selection of the employee.
Given that individuals with ADHD can often be highly sensitive, it is especially important to get this initial step right.
People who exert pressure, push excessively, or even resort to bullying tactics are not those to whom I choose to delegate to. Such interactions trigger avoidance behavior in me, leaving me anxious about task completion.
On the other hand, individuals who exude friendliness, joy, kindness, and openness are a delight to work with. They revel in accomplishing tasks and appreciate management that is conducted in a kind and respectful manner. Conversely, narcissistic individuals often resist such interactions.
Therefore, my first step in the delegation process is conducting interviews.
Anyone who gives off an uncomfortable vibe or attempts to assert dominance is not invited to step through the door. Furthermore, if dominance becomes apparent at any stage of our professional relationship, we part ways immediately.
Addressing business challenges effectively with them is crucial to business success.
As a business owner, if something is not meeting your expectations, it’s vital to communicate that to the delegate, but always in a respectful and kind manner. This is another reason why choosing the right person is so important. The right individuals embrace challenges as opportunities for growth and self-improvement!
Once a level of comfort and trust is established with the employee, the act of delegation becomes significantly simpler.
In conclusion, delegation is a vital skill for ADHD entrepreneurs, and with tailored strategies, it can become more manageable.
Understanding and addressing the challenges that you may face with ADHD, and leaning on your team through delegation can unlock the full potential of your business ventures and encourage success. It’s important to understand your delegates, their skills and experiences that will contribute to them being successful in their assigned tasks.
Choosing to delegate, although may seem painfully mundane and complicated at first, ultimately frees your time and productivity, allowing you the space to focus on tasks that truly need your attention. Harboring this mindset encourages growth and success within your business.
Remember, effective delegation is an ongoing process that requires clear communication, trust, and continuous improvement. By seeking out and using the strengths of each individual team member, you can empower your business to thrive in an environment that celebrates success and learns from mistakes.