Leadership & Delegation

Shelley SmithBlog, Leadership Development

Symbiosis: A relationship in which each is dependent upon the other.

Leadership cannot exist without delegation, and vice versa. A leader who refuses to delegate is not leading—he or she is hoarding.

“I should have done it myself.”
“I don’t trust anyone else to do it right.”
“I don’t have the staff.”
“I have the staff but they’re stretched too thin already.”

While these excuses may allow you to keep up the illusion, the truth couldn’t be more plain: you don’t trust your employees, and you’re working yourself to a breaking point.

Why Delegate?

By running around trying to do everything for everyone, you stress out yourself and your team. Your negative energy will permeate the workplace and with no way to help, your employees will be left feeling trapped, helpless, and probably even a bit angry.

Why? Because you keep them at their desks but won’t let them do their jobs.

Delegation Affects Morale

By refusing to delegate, you silently communicate your lack of trust to each employee. By insisting on doing their jobs, you passive-aggressively compete with them for their jobs. By consistently implying that you can do the work better, you threaten their livelihood.

Negative cycles are demoralizing and unhealthy, resulting in high turnover and low engagement.

How to Delegate Successfully

Just as in leadership, there are different styles of delegation. Those who achieve the strongest, most long-lasting and solid results are those who choose positive motivation, or empowerment.

Trust me: if you never give your employees a chance to impress you, they never will.

Hire smart, by matching personality with position using the Predictive Index. When your team is capable, qualified, and empowered, there’s nothing they can’t do. Just give them the chance. Create a company culture that breathes empowerment, self-growth, and team accountability, then watch as that culture drives you to your goals.

More Delegation Tips:

Be strategic: give the work to the person best-suited for it, and give them a reasonable deadline.

Don’t just delegate work you don’t want to do, or work that is overdue!

Follow up at regular intervals. This is especially critical at the start of a new project, as you and your employee(s) may need to correct-course until everyone is on the same page. Once you’re all aligned, you’ll be heading down the path to creating a culture of accountability.

If your employees aren’t used to your trust, they may want to check in frequently, holding themselves accountable, until they feel that they’re on the right track.

Be flexible. If your employee has a different idea of how to approach the task, or a unique vision of the final product, hear them out. You presumably hired them for their expertise, so listen to their professional opinions and recommendations. Lend them your ear, and your trust.

If an employee tries to delegate work you’ve delegated, ask them why. Perhaps another worker has skills you never knew of, but can now utilize fully. Don’t assume he or she is being lazy without hearing them out.

Delegate as a lifestyle. Nobody can do it all, all the time. You may have a team at your disposal, but what’s that worth if you don’t take advantage? You have a team, but you’re also part of a team. Being a team player doesn’t mean sacrificing control, power, or individuality.

Teamwork is more powerful than any one person, and you’ll be amazed at what you can all accomplish when you work together.