To Delegate or Not? A Struggle for Leaders

To delegate or not? Delegation is one of biggest challenges for a leader in today’s work world.  With work loads increasing, more complex problems to solve and fewer staff to cover the bases it’s no surprise that anyone in a leadership role (managers, supervisors, team leads etc.) struggle with the who, what, when, why and how of delegating wisely.

Why is it so hard? 

As a executive coach, this is what I hear from both experienced leaders and emerging leaders in both corporate, government and non-profit business environments.

  • It takes too much time for me to explain it.
  • I’m not sure it will be done right.
  • I could do it faster, easier, cheaper etc.
  • If someone else does it – maybe I’m not needed as much.
  • I don’t want to bother people – they’re already working hard enough.
  • I don’t want to be self-important. (Jimmy Carter carrying his own suitcase)

Getting In Our Own Way

So the bottom line is that we often get in our own way.  Are we a perfectionist? No one else can do it as well as me.  Or do we delegate too much to one person that we trust but then others don’t get a chance. Are we concerned that if the other person does a great job that maybe – just maybe – we will be working our way out of a job.  Or maybe it’s simply the rush we get from being that “go-to” person all the time even if it means working 24/7.

Those are important questions to ask ourselves.  Are we actually the biggest obstacle to ourselves because we can’t get out of our own way?

What does a good role model look like?

Interesting, leaders often mention that they haven’t had a good role model in delegating over the years either from parents, colleagues or bosses.  So in a great round robin discussion these 7 qualities were identified by experienced leaders as critical for a “ideal delegator”.

  • They create a “culture of delegation”.
  • They create a “culture of mutual trust”.
  • They plan ahead so they aren’t “dumping” tasks on others.
  • They delegate “results” not just “activities”.
  • They delegate both important and maintenance tasks as well.
  • They have confidence in their staff and want to utilize their staff’s strengths.
  • They are truly committed to growing & developing their staff.

So how do you measure up? Are you willing to get out of the way and let others grow, develop and succeed?  If so, you will be delightfully surprised how it will help you be more productive, manage your time and energy better and ultimately provide greater benefits to your own company.  And the icing on the cake is less stressLet me know how you are doing!

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