Manage Smarter 185 — Emily Morgan: How to Delegate Better

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Emily Morgan, is an entrepreneur with an innate heart for helping others. As the leader of Delegate Solutions, she and her team help business owners and entrepreneurs find more freedom and elevate their time using proven delegation strategies and learning how to delegate better. 

She’s been featured in Forbes as a Top 50 Remote Employer, contributed articles to the Huffington Post, and highlighted in the New York Times.

Emily is providing bonus content to Manage Smarter listeners/​viewers, including her Elevation Success Scorecard, at: delegatesolutions​.com/​s​m​a​r​ter

In this episode, Audrey, Lee and Emily discuss How to Delegate Better:

  • Top mistakes leaders make in delegating
  • Delegate Freedom System—What it is and how to use it
  • How to identify what to delegate—Tips and process to narrow that down
  • 5 bottleneck behaviors of entrepreneurs
  • What leaders find it so hard to delegate

"The biggest mistake leaders make is that their first step to being a great delegator is being clear on how they want to spend their time. The rest flows from there."

Emily Morgan

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Manage Smarter 185: How to Delegate Better


This podcast is brought to you by SalesFuel Hire, a platform to help companies hire smarter and flag 13 toxic employee types, measure, job fit sales, tendencies, and motivators, decision making abilities and empathy levels and make your next hire your best hire. Try it now on salesfuel​.com/​h​ire and use promo code Manage Smarter for $50 off your first purchase. 

Welcome to the Manage Smarter Podcast with C. Lee Smith and Audrey Strong. We're glad you're here for discussions on new ways to manage smarter, hire, develop, and retain talent, improve results and propel team performance to new heights. This is the Manage Smarter Podcast.

Audrey Strong: You know, Lee, the topic of today, delegation. So, you know I'm a type A, I have a really hard time letting control go. Because I'm like, by the time I explained this to the person I'm delegating to, I could've just done it myself. That's what a lot of people say.

C. Lee Smith: And then likewise, I've experienced the other end of the spectrum where I've encountered people then that want to delegate everything and do none of the work themselves. So, it's like, they're always looking for someone else to pawn their work off on. So, it's like…

Audrey Strong: Serial delegator.

C. Lee Smith: Serial delegator. So, ideally you want to be someplace in the middle. So, hopefully our guest today will be able to help us with that. 

Audrey Strong: And everybody wrestles with this. So, welcome to Manage Smarter everyone. We are so glad that you're here. I'm Audrey Strong. I'm the vice president of communications here at SalesFuel.

C. Lee Smith: And I'm C. Lee Smith, the president and CEO of SalesFuel.

Audrey Strong: Oh my gosh. To our rescue, Emily Morgan at our microphones today, she's an entrepreneur with an innate heart for helping others. As a leader of Delegate Solutions, she and her team help business owners and entrepreneurs find more freedom. Yes, that sounds good. And elevate their time using proven delegation strategies. She's been featured in Forbes as a top 50 remote employer, written for the Huffington post, Huff post. And she's been highlighted in the New York times. So Emily, wow. I can't wait to get some tips from you. Welcome to the show and thank you for coming. 

Emily Morgan: Yeah, we're talking my favorite topic, so I'm glad to [inaudible 00:02:05]

Audrey Strong: This is her jam. All right. So, there are, you said five bottleneck behaviors of entrepreneurs. What are they? What are we doing wrong?

Emily Morgan: Well, it's not that we're doing anything wrong. It's just that we have these tendencies to certain types of behaviors that jam us up and jam our teams up. And we all exhibit one, all of these at any given time of the day, but I think the key is understanding what they are, maybe why they start and what you can do to get out of your own way sometimes.

Audrey Strong: Yeah. So, that’s number of one.

C. Lee Smith: We got sound effects this week. That's nice. 

Emily Morgan: The hero. So, number one is the hero and the hero always loves to save the day. So, especially entrepreneurs, our teams have been conditioned to run everything through us a lot of the times and it develops over time. But sometimes what can happen if we're not careful is we can start to attribute our own worth to how busy we are, how many fires we're putting out, how many problems we solve today. And a lot of the times like we get energy from that and having an awareness that like, hey, this might feel good in the moment but it's not a good process for my team to have to constantly run everything through me. And a lot of the times it starts because there's no process in your business and your team doesn't have the autonomy to make decisions without you. So, that's type one. Most of us exhibit that at various stages of the day.

Audrey Strong: I would say I'm probably guilty of that. What are some of the other ones of the five? 

Emily Morgan: Yeah, the second one is the interventionists. So, this is like the classic micromanager. They tend to lack trust that anyone can do it as good as you can. And we're always looking at how do we can stay in the loop at all times? And everything has been set up to require our own permission. So, we like the quality control officer. And so that can really slow down our teams also. The third type we call the isolationists. So, this is the people that say, I'll just do it myself, which Audrey, you were just saying [inaudible 00:04:27].

C. Lee Smith: Busted.

Emily Morgan: And it really becomes hard to delegate because you're doing it all yourself. And like, you don't even have time to have conversations with your team because you're too busy doing all the work and the team doesn't have time to connect with you. And it just creates this vicious cycle.

C. Lee Smith: They never develop, they never grow to be able to do things on their own. And so now you're trapped into that cycle.

Emily Morgan: Yeah. The classic micromanager and then number four is where I always get stuck. And it's the time optimist. 

C. Lee Smith: This sounds familiar, right Audrey?

Audrey Strong: Yeah, that’s Lee. 

C. Lee Smith: That’s right. 

Emily Morgan: We're like overly optimistic by nature. And we can sometimes really lack restraint when it comes to executing on our best ideas and she's…

C. Lee Smith: That's enough Audrey. 

Emily Morgan: It’s really unrealistic. So, like you were mentioning earlier, it's like, I can do it faster. Well, there's a selling to our time. And so if we are not aware of that, we can live in that space and we're really just busy all the time but we're not really making our biggest contribution. And what's interesting about this one and the next one, which is the dreamer, is that we live in ideation mode. So, we're constantly thinking about great ideas and we want to share them with our teams, but what happens is our teams live in execution. And so they hear this and it creates this angst in them.

C. Lee Smith: Anxiety, yeah. 

Emily Morgan: Like, now I have to go do this thing. I was like just finishing this thing. So, this is classic entrepreneur behavior. And the dreamer, the last one really doesn't like to think through the execution and it creates issue when you try to hand it over to the team.

C. Lee Smith: So, let me go back to the number four. How do you let them know that when you're just brainstorming or you're just like, I've got an idea it's like, you know, and I want to get feedback on it like that. So, when it's presented that way, sometimes it's heard as, oh God, it's like, how are we going to do this on top of everything else we're already doing? So, how can you then still brainstorm without having them feel like, okay, this is another log on the fire?

Emily Morgan: Yeah. I think you have to meet in the middle. So, you have to begin by saying, I have an idea and give the team, it doesn't mean we're doing anything with it, but I want to get it out. I want to share it and see what you think about it? And then if we decide it's a really important idea and we want to prioritize it, then let's start put a plan together. But like give them the space to just hear you out but they're already focused on execution. Like that's all they can think about when you're starting to share your ideas. So, just give them some space and give yourself a parking lot to store those great ideas. 

Audrey Strong: That's true. So, your system frees up more time and what are some of the — if you get really good at this, what are some case studies or what have people found that they’re freed up to do more of? Even if that means keeping a closer eye on your PNL maybe, something leading like that.

Emily Morgan: It's really interesting because I'm in the middle of writing a book called A Culture of Delegation. And it's all about how we can cascade it through our companies and have everybody sort of elevating and doing work that they love and that they're great and it becomes this retention strategy. But it can be really easy to just fill the time with more work that you don't really enjoy or that you're not good at, but it brings you energy because you're solving a problem or people are coming to you. So, it's really, really important to under what you want to spend your time on for delegation to work well. And that's like the number one thing that I've uncovered in all of the work that I've done in delegation, is like, if we don't have a clear picture of what we really want to do instead, then the time just gets refilled. Anything we delegate, we fill with more and more stuff that doesn't bring us energy. 

C. Lee Smith: So, could you boil it down to like a step by step? It's like how do you envision people that delegate well? What do they have in common? And what steps do they follow to be able to do that?

Emily Morgan: Yeah. So, I built a delegation system because it gives us something to cling to as we're in the chaos of I'm so busy. It's a process that you can work through over and over again, to figure out how to move things off your plate. So, step one is focused. So like, we're just talking about getting really clear on what do you want to spend your time on and reflecting on that. It's like sacred time to really through that piece. And then step two, we call evaluate and our system is called the delegate freedom system. So, step one is focused. Step two is evaluate, look back over your calendar. How have you spent your time? What are the things that you're doing that bring you energy versus deplete you? And you're like a researcher in that step and your team can do that work for you. We have clients that will like analyze their calendar and they want 300 hours over the next couple months with their kids. And we'll track that time and analyze it, make sure they're hitting those goals. Step three is prioritize. This is where we build out strategy around what it is we're going to be handing off to others. And we typically like to tie that to our goals and priorities. Step four, hand off, make sure that who you're giving it to knows what they're doing with it, knows how you're going to get in touch with them, knows what the success criteria are for the project to be done. And then step five is feedback, have a really healthy feedback loop where they can talk to you and give you feedback and vice versa. And just keep following that circle around and round to clear your plate.

C. Lee Smith: Audrey mentioned a PNL system earlier and it's like, I kind of view this as more of like a budget, because you can add more revenue, to one side of, of the PNL, but you can't add more time. We all are given the same amount of time in a day. So, you think that's a good analogy. Is that a good way to think about it?

Emily Morgan: We can add more time in a day?

C. Lee Smith: No that we can't add more time in a day. It's like we only have so much. It says really is more like a budge more than a PNL statement.

Emily Morgan: Right, I mean, you have a ceiling. We all haves so much time in the day and the most effective leaders figure out what it is that they are great at and find ways to get the other things off their plate and have a commitment to that. Because it's not just about understanding it, it's about solving it.

Audrey Strong: And you say, similar, what Lee said, Emily, you say delegation is really energy management system. That's the way you think about it.

Emily Morgan: It's all about understanding that energy is what we have to contribute to our companies and protecting that fiercely and using delegation as a tool to create space for you to increase the energy, doing more things you love.

Audrey Strong: And why is it so hard for us? Why is this something we all wrestle with all of us, in one of the five categories? We're all [inaudible 00:11:48].

Emily Morgan: I think it's a structure of the workplace, society structure of the workplace. So, you know, bosses making sure you're busy all day or that you're sitting at a desk from nine to five. It's a generational thing and then with entrepreneurs, it's about being able to attribute our own worth to the contribution that we're making and not how busy we are. And that is a mindset shift that's really hard. And I think that's where a lot of people get stuck is like, well, if I'm not doing all the stuff, then what am I doing? Well, you're visioning, you're out having big, important meetings, you're out taking a walk and letting thoughts come into your brain. You're giving yourself space and valuing that.

C. Lee Smith: Has it gotten harder or easier to delegate now that more of us are working remote?

Emily Morgan: It's interesting. I mean, my company's been remote for 14 years, so we were ready to go when this happened. I think it has created a lot of simplicity to our lives, but through a lot of complexities. So, I think probably pre-​pandemic people were delegating probably less is what I would imagine and we've really streamlined our lives. At least I have going through this and it's like, these are my boundaries and what doesn't fit in those boundaries. I'm either not doing or I'm delegating. That'll be my guess.

Audrey Strong: What if you're a CEO of a company that is lean and mean and small versus a larger company, and you have to execute part of your day. It's just the team is too small. What's your advice for leaders in that situation?

Emily Morgan: I think fractional resources are amazing. So, relying on those. So, like our business is fractional admin. We work with clients one to two hours a day to do their admin work. So, I keep thinking about it differently and not having to increase your head count to get stuff done but using different types of resources.

C. Lee Smith: And then being able to manage those, which is something Audrey is fantastic at it. Being able to manage contractors and stuff is really important. And of course, then if you delegate to them there's a price tag attached to it. And you're more aware of that. But some leaders are not quite as aware that there's a price tag attached internally because there is.

Emily Morgan: There's a price tag to your time. And I mean, when you do that math, you're like hundreds of dollars an hour of your time compared to $20 to 60 of somebody else's time. 

Audrey Strong: So, you're writing the book now it comes out what next spring, is that when it comes out?

Emily Morgan: Spring, yeah.

Audrey Strong: But you have an e‑workbook on your website. So, that at info​.delegatesolutions​.com/​r​e​s​o​u​r​c​e​s​e​l​e​v​a​t​ion freedom guide. So, what's in the workbook, tell us?

Emily Morgan: Yeah. So, this is a self-​study we have a live in person ecourse and then we have a self-​study free ebook. But it basically talks through all of our delegation philosophies, and it's a lot of introspective reflective work. So, it's a lot of work through your own emotions and feelings about delegation and maybe why these things have come up for you. We talk through affirmation so that you're feeling really positive around making this shift in your life. We do the math equation, Lee that we were talking about where it's like, what is your time really worth? So, it's filled with lots of exercises and lots of just thoughts around different types of thoughts around delegation that I don't think a lot of people are talking about.

C. Lee Smith: What trait or mindsets do people who are good delegators, what do they have in common?

Emily Morgan: They are committed, I think so they understand that it's not always going to be perfect. It's not always going to be as good as maybe you were able to do it, but you're get comfortable with the 80%. They are open to feedback and being willing and committed to give feedback in return. They delegate with intention. So, from an admin standpoint, our experiences tell us the end result. What does success look like for this thing to be done? Let us get there. And so, as long as you can flesh out what the success criteria are around a project or whatever who's doing what by when these things have to be true when this is done, you'll have great results that way too. 

C. Lee Smith: And it doesn't necessarily mean it's like first you do A, then you do B, then you do C because it's like you hire people who are better at you in some way, let them figure out how to get it done. And necessarily you just set the end result, set the vision for what the success looks like and tell them when it needs to be done by, how much money can be spent and let them do the rest. Is that fair?

Emily Morgan: Yeah. I think there's people in this world that love to do the work that you hate to do and that's fact.

Audrey Strong: That's a great [crosstalk 00:16:55].

C. Lee Smith: That's why we have accountants and lawyers. Yeah.

Emily Morgan: And maybe they're going to do it differently than you but maybe it’s better than how you would do it. So, like when you're delegating, you always want to start really small to build some confidence. So, schedule my hair appointment, book my car are like really easy things and just lay a good foundation. He’s cringing.

C. Lee Smith: I've never ask anybody to do that.

Emily Morgan: Well with entrepreneurs in particular, like personal is part of the bag of what comes off our plate. But you can really just kind of start really small and then build from there as you go.

Audrey Strong: Yeah. And I found that lately, my team is amazing. We stop ourselves. We force ourselves to put down our execution plates when something new comes in, when Lee is putting 20 pounds of execution in a 10 pound bag, which is what I tell him he's doing. But I can say that if you take 10 minutes to just talk and say, this is what it is, this is what I need it by. This is whatever, it has been a dream because they just go off and it comes back, it's done and it's done amazingly well. 

C. Lee Smith: And then Audrey says, is this…

Audrey Strong: And I'm so relieved and happy because then I know it's done. 

C. Lee Smith: And then, then Audrey says, is this more important than this task over here that you want us to work on? Or is it more important than that task there? It's like, where does it fit on the priority?

Audrey Strong: We triage all the time. 

Emily Morgan: Yeah. I released a scorecard, it's coming in the book but it's pre-​released on the website called The Elevation Success Scorecard. And it's five habits and mindsets of elevated leaders. And so you can score yourself and you can sort of identify where you're having issues. And we have the same for the bottleneck. We have a diagnostic where you can figure out which bottleneck type you're exhibiting and get some solutions for them. 

C. Lee Smith: Mainly a good idea to do a 360 on as well and ask some of your direct reports to also score you because I know some leaders don't necessarily have the best self-​awareness and they might think that they're doing a great job in a particular area but maybe not.

Emily Morgan: Yeah, there's a great test, not personality, but it's like cognitive and cognitive abilities and it's called Kolbe, K‑O-​L-​B‑E. And it gives you like a four digit code. We use this with all our clients and it helps us understand, are you someone that likes a lot of detail or a little? Do you have strong follow through or babble follow through? Are you someone that actions things really quickly or takes you a while? And so it gives you this code and it can be a really great, like understanding of yourself to take out something like that and be able to apply that to the people that you work with.

C. Lee Smith: Well, when you talk assessments, you're speaking my language. I mean, it's one of the big things we do over here at SalesFuel with our coach feed product and also with hiring and grooming people for promotions and things. It’s like we have a battery of assessment, so it's like I love it when we're geeking out over that kind of stuff. 

Audrey Strong: Yeah. I'm sorry. Well, it's delegatesolutions​.com. Your Twitter is delegate Inc. And you're also Delegate Solutions on LinkedIn and Facebook. And again, the book comes out in the spring called A Culture of Delegation and Emily, this has been great. Thanks for the tips. And if you want to plug into her classes and obviously you should buy the book once it's up for presale, get ahold of her. And I can't thank you enough. This has been very informative.

Emily Morgan: Thank you. Yeah, we'll have all the resources that we talked about today on our, at delegate solutions​.com/​s​m​a​r​ter and you can grab all the links to all the different docs that I shared. 

Audrey Strong: Perfect. Thanks, Emily. Pleasure meeting you. 

Thanks for listening to our episode on how to delegate better. If you enjoyed the show, please rate and recommend on iTunes, overcast, or wherever you get your podcast. You can also get more great information at salesfuel​.com.

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