Delegating 101 – Curse of Knowledge

by | Aug 14, 2014 | Blog, Business Systems, Goal Setting, How to Clone Yourself, Make My First Hire, Team Building | 4 comments

Have you ever heard of the curse of knowledge?

If not, get ready to have a major “aha” moment!

The curse of knowledge is a phenomenon that says that it’s difficult to remember what it’s like to not know how to do something once you’ve learned it.

So like, if you’ve ever gotten frustrated with someone for…ahem… not knowing something that seemed so obvious to you, you’ve suffered from the curse of knowledge.

Because, well, there was a day long long ago when you didn’t know how to do these things either.

The curse of knowledge becomes especially important to overcome when you’re delegating tasks or teaching someone how to do something new. And if you don’t pay attention to it, you might wind up shooting yourself in the foot.

I’m going to give you three steps to avoiding any communication snafoos with your team as well as some examples of things most managers forget to tell their contractors and employees.

Three steps to delegating something new:

1. Break it all down.

When you’re ready to delegate a task, make sure to write down every single aspect of that task.

The main elements that you should tell the person are…

  • The big picture. In other words, why is this task important? How does this task fit into the bigger picture? There’s ALWAYS a bigger picture.

  • Action steps. You need to tell this person the exact actions that they need to take in order to accomplish the task.

  • Deadlines. When do you need the task accomplished?

For example, if you’re sending an email to your web designer to tell her that you need a new header for your website, you need to picture what you want and then tell her every single detail of what you’re looking for.

2. Let them mess up.

And make sure that they know it’s ok to make mistakes and ask questions!


Outsourcing is a beautiful thing, but you can’t expect someone to swoop in and know what to do off the bat.

Whenever you hire someone, you’re going to have to invest time in training them.

And do you know the best way for your new contractor to learn your processes?

Let them try it and see what happens so they know what questions to ask and you know what directions to give.

A great way of doing this without causing harm to your business is to give them small projects at first.

Once they’ve finished the project or task, make sure to get in touch with them to see if they have any questions and let them know of any changes you’d like them to make the next time.

3. Update your notes.

The final step in the delegating process is to update your standard procedures.

You’ll want to add two things:

FIRST – the answers to the questions that your new employee or contractor asked you.

SECOND – add clarifications for anything that you needed to correct them on.

Now that your notes are updated, you’ll be even more prepared the next time you bring someone new to your team.

Hi, I’m amber!

Eternal optimist, lover of dance parties, here to get more of you in the world and help you grow your dream business.

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