Delegating Effectively

Luis Scott

Luis Scott is the Managing Partner at Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, where he represents people who have been injured or disabled in severe accidents. He is also the Owner of 8 Figure Firm, which provides consulting services and insider knowledge to national law firms. As Bader Scott’s managing attorney, he handles over 150 employees and contractors and has led the firm to be recognized by the Atlanta Business Chronicle as one of the fastest-growing businesses in Georgia. 

Luis has received numerous awards and accolades, including Super Lawyers’ “Rising Star,” The National Trial Lawyers Association’s “Top 40 Lawyers Under 40,” and the American Institute of Legal Counsel’s “10 Best Attorneys in 2017” for workers’ compensation.

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Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:

  • What is delegation?
  • How to delegate tasks effectively 
  • The common barriers to delegation

In this episode…

Task delegation is a crucial component of effective leadership. Yet, many leaders struggle to delegate and impart unclear expectations, causing further confusion. Moreover, some employees aren’t receptive to these assignments because they may lack the skills or interests to complete them. So how can you incentivize employees to complete assigned tasks?

If you want to grow as a leader, Luis Scott says you must communicate expectations clearly, consider your employees’ skill levels and training, and align your team with your vision. Luis’ tip for transparent communication is to write down your instructions for a given task, helping you objectively determine if it’s succinct enough for your employees to understand. When building a team for task delegation, it’s important to merge passion and skill so you can encourage them to produce the outcome you want to achieve. 

Join Luis Scott in today’s episode of The Guts and Glory Show as he talks about delegating assignments effectively, the common barriers to delegation, and why people struggle to delegate and receive tasks.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by 8 Figure Firm.

Co-founded by Luis Scott and Seth Bader of Bader Scott Injury Lawyers, 8 Figure Firm helps transform your law firm into a 7-figure or even 8-figure firm.

After their own law firm scaled from $3.5 million in revenues to $30 million per year in revenues in just two years, Luis and Seth started the 8 Figure Firm to share their strategies and help other law firms achieve exponential growth.

Visit www.8figurefirm.com to receive a consult call and start scaling your business today.

Episode Transcript

Luis Scott  0:00  

If you want to delegate in a way that actually achieves the result that you’re trying to achieve, you have to set better expectations for the person receiving it everyone wants to work with and for someone they enjoy being around. When I think about leading a life of significance, I don’t think about money, I think about all the people that can be changed by the impact that I’ve made in their lives. If you want to grow as a leader, the most fundamental thing that you have to do is become skillful at the concept of delegation. Delegation. It’s a very tricky word, especially if you work in the corporate world, because all too often, people don’t know how to delegate, or they don’t know how to receive delegated duties. And so they many times don’t execute correctly. And today, I want to profile why delegation becomes difficult in how you can overcome those difficulties in delegation so that you can be a better operator, a better owner, a better entrepreneur, a better law firm owner. And here’s the concept of delegation. And there’s something that I teach a lot of a lot of our staff is that delegation is the ability to place the authority and someone else for them to act on your behalf. And so when I think about delegating a task, let’s say I delegate the project to one of my assistants, my Operations Assistant, and I give them a project and I say, this is your project, I’ve delegated this project, what I’m really asking my operations assistant to do is to work on my behalf, for my benefit for the benefit of the organization. And the effectiveness of that delegation depends on the method and manner that we delegate, it depends on the instructions that we give, it depends on the way that we communicate, what needs to be done in that moment, and at what time it needs to be taken care of. And so if you want to become a master leader, if you want to become a leader that can actually get people to do things that you want them to do, you have to become a master delegator. And when I’m asked routinely, when I go on an interview, or I have a speaking engagement, I’m asked what makes me a great leader, or what makes me a great operator, because I consider myself a more of an operations person. And that is that I have the ability to move people to act on my behalf. That is the key to delegation. And so if you want to get people to move on your behalf, you have to have a relational component, you have to have a logical component, you have to be able to provide some sort of pathway for them to see there’s actually a book by Chip and Dan Heath, I believe that talks about this very concept. But you have to be able to move people emotionally and logically. So that they can work on your behalf so that they see that their best best interest is in fact being served by doing the work that you’re asking them to do. So what is one of the reasons that people don’t delegate? Well, or don’t, are not capable of getting someone else to work on their behalf, I believe is because of unclear expectations. And this is a really big problem, especially in the corporate world will tell somebody, Hey, go do this. But we don’t actually define the expectations. What are the parameters? What are the boundaries? What are the things that you have to accomplish? What does success look like? And if you want to delegate in a way that actually achieves the result that you’re trying to achieve, you have to set better expectations for the person receiving it, because the person receiving it is not in your head. They don’t think like you, they don’t think about things the way you do. And they absolutely don’t know what you’re thinking. And so we make a mistake. And I think the mistake is the assumption that if I delegate something that the words that I say, are being received in the way that I’m saying them, and something that my dad has always taught me, he says that I’m responsible for the message and the understanding of the message. And what he really means by that, or at least what I’ve always thought he meant by that was that I have the responsibility to communicate so effectively, that what I’m communicating is being understood. Now, obviously, I can’t be responsible for exactly how they receive it. But I should be communicating to such a degree, I should be communicating the expected expectations to such a degree, that It’s patently obvious on its face, what it is that I’m asking for. And this takes time to think you know, I heard this recently that the ability to think and the ability to write are one in the same. And I believe if you want to be able to delegate properly, you have to be willing to write it down, succinctly and asking yourself did what I write down actually communicate the delegation that I needed it set the communication, the standard, the expectation, if you can’t write it down, it’s very likely that you’re not going to communicate it properly. And if you don’t communicate it properly, it’s very likely that it’s not going to get done the way you want it to get done. So setting unclear expectations a real big problem in this concept of delegation. The second thing is the lack of skill or training in And that is, if we delegate something to someone who doesn’t have the skill or training, it’s very likely not going to get done, you know, I think about at home, so So Rachel and I, we, we joke because I don’t do anything at the house, okay? And I’m proud of that I go and hire people and, and hire handyman, and plumbers and all these people to do this work. Because I know that I’m not a specialist, I know that I’m not skilled or trained at it. But if she were to come to me, and she would say, you know, hey, I don’t want you to hire anyone to fix the pipe that’s leaking underneath the ground. By the way, we had this happen. In January, the pipes froze. Here in Georgia, there was big frost and we turn on the water, we did everything that we were supposed to do. But for whatever reason, the pipe still busted, busted outside of the house, thankfully. But if you were to tell me, you need to dig that up, you need to find the pipe, you need to find the hole. And then you need to repair that she would be delegating a task that I don’t have the skill or training. And so what happens a lot of times is that we delegate things to people who do not have the skill or training to actually do the work. And then we’re surprised when they can’t actually accomplish what we want them to accomplish. So when we’re developing a team, and we’re developing a group of people, for which we want to delegate tasks, we need to be mindful about their skills, and about their trainings. And I love this, this concept that it was in a book called The Coaching Habit, where talked about how the way you get the best work out of people is you have to merge passion and skill. And so when I’m working with a team, not only am I setting clear expectations, I’m also making sure that I’m delegating the tasks to the most capable, skillful and trained person, because that’s going to guarantee that I get the outcome that I want to have in my in my business. The third thing that happens with delegation is that we don’t have enough interest in the Delegated Task. And this goes to the passion part. And so I won’t spend a lot of time on this. But you have to make sure that the people you’re delegating to, especially if you’re an entrepreneur, if you’re a law firm owner, if you have a big team, that you’re finding out who is actually interested in doing this task. Recently, we had a task or project that needed to be done on the software, well guess what 99% of people in the legal industry, or at least the ones that work in our firm, are not interested in the software. But we had two people who were very interested in the software who were very interested in the the customer relations management software that we use. And so they were perfect for this and delegating it to them was the natural thing to do, because they were the most skillful, they were the most passionate about it. And so we have to make sure that we find people who have the interest in doing the work, and that’s going to ensure that you’re going to delegate the best and the most properly. The next one is not understanding the why, you know, I, I’m kind of conflicted about this concept of buy in, you hear a lot of times, leaders say we need to get buy in from people. And I have a hard time with that. I don’t know why I’m responsible to make sure that every single person on my team buys in. And the reason that I feel that way is because my belief is that instead of trying to get people to buy in is that you hire people who are already bought in. And that’s, that’s a nugget within itself, hire people who already believe in your vision and your mission, who already believe in what you’re trying to accomplish. And then it requires less convincing. And so for me, I’m not trying to look for people to buy in, I’m looking for bought and people who are willing to do the work. But when it comes to this question about why why are we doing this process? Why are we engaging in this change? I think it’s important that we explain to people why we’re doing something when I teach the steps of implementation, which is not the purpose of this of this podcast show, when I touch this, you know, when I teach these steps of implementation, one of the things that I say is that, that we have to make sure that we explain why the change is necessary. And so we identify the problem, we identify the issue, we identify the project needs to be done. But we need to explain to our teams why it needs to be done. And what’s the purpose of it? How is it gonna benefit them? How’s it gonna benefit the organization? How is it going to benefit our teams collectively. And if you do that properly, what you’ll find is that you’re more likely to get people to who are bought in who or maybe not fully bought in but are half bought, and maybe they paid 50% of the price. But you’re gonna find people who are want to be a part of what you’re doing, because you’ve clearly identified the why something needs to be to be done. And the next thing is, there’s a disagreement about urgency, and this is a big one. Recently, I was talking to my Operations Assistant, I asked her to do something. And I didn’t tell her the the level of urgency. I think I asked her in the morning, maybe early morning, maybe mid morning, and around five or 6pm, I had forgotten that I had delegated this task. And so I sent her a quick text message just said, Hey, sorry to bother you, after work or whatever. But did you do X, Y and Z? And she was like, Oh, I was gonna do it in the morning. See, I delegated properly there. But one thing that was missing is the level of urgency. For me this was a very urgent thing, but I never communicated that. And so I think we have to get better at communicating the level of urgency when we need something done. Now this is part about setting expectations. Since, but if we don’t communicate the level of urgency, it’s very likely that they’re not going to do it when we want it done, and they’re not going to do it in a timely fashion. And the last thing is the deadline, we miss the deadline, this comes to the level of urgency, but establishing a deadline of when things that need to be done, when do they need to be done? What is the date, that is the absolute bottom line of when something needs to be done. And I think that’s really critical in delegation. And what I find is, when we fail to do these things, when we fail to properly set expectations, when we fail to communicate the why when we fail, to find the right person with the skill and training, we fail to find the person with a passion. We don’t tell people the level of urgency and we don’t set a deadline is very unlikely that your team member, your subordinate, whoever is working for you is going to be able to accomplish what you want them to accomplish in the amount of time that you want them to accomplish. So if you want to be a better leader, if you want to be a better law firm owner, if you want to be a better operator, you have to become a better delegator. And that means you have to take the time and you have to take on the responsibility to carry the burden of communicating properly, to get things done. And I promise you if you do this, and you do this right, not only will you have a team of people who are ready to work on your behalf, who are ready to execute on your behalf. You have a team of people who are bought in and who are excited about the business that you are building.