Mastering the Art of Delegation: Insights from Jenna Spencer, Founder of AssistPro

As leaders, we often find ourselves drowning in a sea of tasks and responsibilities, leaving little time to focus on our core strengths and strategic vision. This is where the art of delegation comes into play – a skill that, when mastered, can unlock exponential growth and impact for both individuals and organizations. Nikki Lewallen Gregory, the host of the Gut Plus Science podcast, talked with Jenna Spencer, founder and CEO of AssistPro, to explore the intricacies of effective delegation.

The Barriers to Delegation: Fear and Assumptions

According to Jenna Spencer, the two main barriers preventing leaders from delegating are fear and assumptions. “As leaders, we are in control of a lot,” she explained. “We are leading, we’re managing people, we’re running a business, and most times, the fear element comes in with losing control.” This fear of relinquishing control often manifests itself in the form of “what ifs” – what if things don’t turn out the way we want?

Additionally, leaders often make assumptions about their own irreplaceability, believing that certain tasks are too complex or challenging for someone else to handle. “On the assumption side, [leaders think] ‘Only I can do this. If this is hard for me, how can I ask someone else to do this hard thing?'” Jenna notes.

The Overlooked Benefits of Delegation

While fear and assumptions can hold leaders back from delegating, Jenna reminds us that the benefits of effective delegation are often overlooked. Chief among these is employee engagement. “Delegation creates employee engagement because your employees want to feel trusted. They want to feel empowered. They want to have the freedom to grow and to make choices,” she says.

Beyond engagement, delegation creates a ripple effect of positive outcomes. Jenna explains, “We think about delegation, we get an exchange of our time. We immediately get time back, but there’s actually a momentum that builds. So it’s time, then it’s capacity, and then it’s energy.”

By delegating tasks and responsibilities, leaders free up time, increase their capacity to think strategically, and ultimately gain more energy to focus on high-impact activities. This momentum, as Jenna describes it, creates a powerful ripple effect that can propel both leaders and their organizations to new heights.

The DASH Method: A Systematic Approach to Delegation

To help leaders effectively delegate, Spencer has developed the “DASH Method” – a four-step process inspired by a relay race. The steps are:

  1. Download: Understanding the importance of the task and envisioning what success looks like.
  2. Ask: Collaborating with the person taking on the task and having them outline the first steps.
  3. Shadow: Transferring the task while monitoring and providing guidance.
  4. Handoff: Fully delegating the task, with both parties understanding the parameters and expectations.

By following this systematic approach, leaders can overcome the emotional barriers associated with delegation and ensure a smooth transition of responsibilities.

Delegating Ownership, Not Tasks

One of the key insights Jenna shares is the distinction between delegating tasks and delegating ownership. “If we’re delegating tasks, that statement is true for you. It probably is faster if you do it yourself, because every single time it comes up, you’ve got to ask somebody to do it,” she explains.

Instead, she advocates for delegating responsibilities – an umbrella under which tasks fall. For example, instead of asking someone to book flights for each trip, a leader could delegate the responsibility of managing all travel arrangements. This approach not only saves time but also removes the mental burden of remembering to constantly assign tasks.

The Three P’s: Plan, Process, and Practice

To cement the habit of effective delegation, Jenna recommends following the “three P’s”:

  1. Plan: Having a clear plan for what needs to be delegated.
  2. Process: Implementing a structured delegation process, such as the DASH Method.
  3. Practice: Continuously practicing and refining delegation skills as leaders grow and take on new responsibilities.

By adhering to these three principles, leaders can transform delegation from an occasional occurrence into a seamless, ongoing practice that fuels their growth and success.

The Intersection with EOS: Traction Through Delegation

For those familiar with the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS), Jenna highlights the natural alignment between delegation and the EOS model. EOS identifies effective delegation as one of the five essential leadership abilities, and the “Delegate and Elevate” tool provides a framework for putting this ability into practice.

“With EOS, I have learned that I can get what I want from my business by having a healthy team and having my clear vision and getting traction,” she explains. “And so getting traction, you have to be able to delegate because you can’t do it all.”

By embracing delegation as a core leadership competency, EOS practitioners can gain the traction they need to drive their businesses forward while simultaneously developing their teams and fostering a culture of empowerment and trust.

The art of delegation is a powerful tool that can unlock personal and organizational growth, employee engagement, and strategic focus. By confronting their fears and assumptions, adopting a systematic approach like the DASH Method, and embracing delegation as a continuous practice, leaders can cultivate a culture of trust and empowerment, freeing themselves to operate at their highest level of impact.

As Jenna Spencer eloquently puts it, “To the degree that you can effectively delegate, that’s the degree to which you can grow yourself and your business and your people.” With her insights and the resources offered by AssistPro, leaders have the opportunity to master this critical skill and unlock their full potential.


Listen to the episode: Gut + Science | Episode 233: Delegating: Drives Business Growth & Employee Engagement with Jenna Spencer

Key Takeaways:

  • Overcoming Fear and Assumptions: Leaders often hesitate to delegate due to fear of losing control and assumptions that others won’t meet expectations. Recognizing and overcoming these barriers is crucial.
  • The “DASH” Method: Jenna introduced a structured approach to delegation, consisting of Download, Ask, Shadow, and Handoff, which helps ensure clarity and success in delegated tasks.
  • Delegation as an Engagement Strategy: Effective delegation boosts employee engagement by showing trust and fostering responsibility within the team.
  • Delegation Enhances Personal and Business Growth: Delegating effectively allows leaders to focus on high-impact activities, enhancing personal development and organizational success.
  • Empowerment Through Delegation: Assigning responsibilities rather than tasks can transform team dynamics, increasing autonomy and satisfaction among team members.

Things to listen for:

[00:00:00] Introduction to the power of delegation by Jenna Spencer.

[00:01:26] Jenna discusses common barriers to effective delegation.

[00:06:32] Benefits of delegation often overlooked by leaders.

[00:10:11] Explanation of the “DASH” method for effective delegation.

[00:17:22] How AssistPro supports leaders in mastering delegation.

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