Strategic Delegating for Greater Productivity
If you’re always thinking “there aren’t enough hours in the day,” we’ve got a suggestion.
While delegating can sometimes feel risky, it can also generate a range of serious payoffs beyond freeing up some of your own time.
The Challenges of Delegating
Lots of leaders are real go-getters who take their responsibilities seriously, and may have more than a touch of perfectionism. These traits can make it hard to delegate.
Do you resist delegating?
Maybe your work ethic gets in the way. Maybe it feels like you’re just passing off your responsibilities to someone else, so you feel guilty about it. Instead, remember that delegating can provide valuable learning and advancement opportunities for your team. Many of them are eager to take on more responsibilities to grow their skills and prove their worth. Delegating isn’t a sign of weakness – it’s actually a sign of strong leadership.
For some managers, their perfectionism makes it hard to let go. However, you’ve got to accept that you can’t do everything yourself. Demonstrating trust in team members, and giving them a chance to earn that trust, is critical to developing invested, confident employees. Like you, they want to be successful, learn new things, and do good work.
You might feel too busy to delegate, convinced that it will take too long to train someone to perform the task at hand. Consider it an investment. Yes, perhaps you can complete the task in a fraction of the time it would take to train someone, but take the long view. If your employee can take over this responsibility for the next one, three, six months, how much time will they save you? How much will they contribute to a more nimble, robust organization?
Tips for Delegating
Delegate strategically. Don’t just tap the person with the lightest work load to take over. Instead, consider the strengths and weaknesses, the skills and experience, of your team members and assign accordingly. This is an opportunity to groom your team members for new skills and responsibilities, and potentially for advancement or new positions.
Offer clear instructions and expectations about milestones, deadlines, standards, etc. This is an educational opportunity, and time and energy invested will be repaid.
Trust and empower the person taking over the responsibility, but communicate and verify along the way. While it’s critical not to micromanage, you should make yourself available as they ramp up their familiarity with the task, and check in periodically.
Learn to let go. Don’t let your perfectionism or pride get in the way. Keep your focus on the results, not the method. Give people a chance to take ownership and make the job their own. Good leaders recognize that their team dynamic matters.
Delegating for the Win
Leaders can’t, and shouldn’t, do everything on their own.
Delegating builds trust, empowers your team, and cultivates professional development. It makes a clear statement to your subordinates that you trust them, their abilities, and their judgment. When a healthy, thriving culture of delegation is established, a business is more nimble and employees are more committed.