Want to Be an Effective Leader? Master Delegation
If you want to be among the best leaders, master delegation. When done right, delegating empowers teams to get their work done. It also creates an environment where members of the team are proud of their work and take ownership.
The key to making it happen is learning to delegate effectively by giving the right work to the right people. Delegating work is about sharing a task and decision-making responsibilities to increase others’ commitment, accelerate results, and build capability.
But sometimes leaders are held back from delegating work. What holds leaders back from delegating can be a whole host of things. Sometimes, they may be leading former peers, and they feel uncomfortable telling their friends what to do.
Other times, they are high performers and see themselves as the team workhorse. So, they may feel like they are shirking their responsibility by passing the work to someone else.
Maybe they don’t trust their teams. High-performing leaders can sometimes be perfectionists who struggle to let go of operational-level tasks to focus on the big-picture instead. It’s a common at every leadership level.
Not delegating carries a steep cost. As leaders take on more work, they get overwhelmed and stressed. They may even burn out and quit.
It also frustrates teams who don’t feel like they’re contributing enough, nor can they to do their work as they see fit. They’ll likely end up disengaged or start polishing up their resumes for another role.
How can leaders empower others with delegation?
· Team members are more creative and are 3.9 times more likely to produce innovative/creative outcomes.
· Team members take more initiative and are 4.2 times more likely to go above their job description.
· Team members perform better and are 2.2 times more likely to be considered high performers.
· The team has higher standards and is 1.9 times more likely to have high performance standards.
Employees often feel more satisfied when they have more authority, making them less likely to leave. Most thrive and this type of environment can propel them to grow in their careers faster, creating more satisfaction.
Leaders can potentially delegate too much, leading to an exhausted and confused team that may push back. It could cause missed deadlines or lead to so many questions about projects that they stall out and lose motivation to finish. Leaders need to quickly talk to teams about their concerns and consider re-allocating projects or securing more resources.
When should leaders delegate?
Leaders must understand when to delegate. For example, delegating a task to an employee who could use a confidence boost is effective.
Leaders also need to consider what not to delegate. For example, they should never delegate core leadership duties, such as compensation or performance decisions. Nor should they ever delegate anything that legal or business regulations do not allow them to.
That still leaves a lot of gray area. Here are a few questions you can ask when deciding whether to delegate a task. Here’s what to consider before you delegate work:
1. What’s the desired output? What will the completed task look like? How will you judge whether it is completed well or not?
2. What’s the importance of the task? How important is this assigned task to the team? How important is this assigned task to the company?
3. Are you delegating authority appropriately? What key decisions will need to be made during the project? Will the person or team have the authority to make critical decisions?
4. To whom should you delegate the work? Who has the skills to complete this work? Who has the motivation? Is there anyone who might be interested in the work that you haven’t considered before? What are the benefits to the person completing this delegated task?
5. What’s the method of sharing work? Will you have a meeting to generate ideas or to define the task further with the person? What is the delegation process? Have clear expectations been given?
6. How will you assess the results of the tasks you’ve delegated? How will you give feedback along the way? How will you ensure that the criteria is clear for what success looks like?
If a leader struggles to answer these questions, then they should re-evaluate if the task should be delegated.
Delegating to empower
Successful leaders can empower employees by delegating tasks effectively. But leaders should also always show respect to employees and keep communication lines open.
When people feel listened to, valued, and understood, they are more likely to feel engaged and empowered to do good work, even if that means making a few mistakes along the way. Successful leaders are master delegators and masters at using Key Principles for effective communication.
Leaders will only empower employees if they are able to delegate the right tasks to the right people. Tasks should empower, engage, and encourage development. They shouldn’t be too much of a stretch where the person feels overwhelmed and fearful about it because then they may not complete it.
Why Should Leaders Delegate? More Time for Leadership
Delegating can be tricky. There are a lot of opportunities for growth, but there are also several missteps most leaders face.
But when leaders learn to delegate effectively, their time is freed up to work on priorities key to moving your business forward. Leaders may even be able to get to items they’ve never had time for before — including development or growth activities that can really spur innovation and improve job satisfaction and engagement.
The bottom line? Delegation is a skill that can be built and practiced over time. It’s important for companies to make time to teach leaders how to delegate work. After all, it’s a skill crucial to leadership success, team success, and company success.
Want to learn more about delegating? Read “How to Delegate Work and Why It’s Important for Leaders.”