A leader has more demands on their time than they can possibly fill. It can be easy to get caught up wanting to do everything yourself. It just seems easier than having to spend your time showing someone else what they need to do. Delegation skills are not something that always comes naturally. You want results and what better way to get it than to do it yourself. There are principles of delegation that can help you create a culture of empowered leaders.
I once had an employee who led a team of about 10 people. She was often top in results. On the outside, everything looked great. When you looked closer, however, you realized that her team 6 months later, 12 months later, hadn’t grown as much as a team should when they achieve such great results. Their competency levels were about the same as the previous year.
What was the root cause?
Though she thought she was a great delegator, she was only delegating tasks and not authority. She was great at telling people what they needed to do but not as great at teaching them to do it themselves. She had a difficult time letting go of control and in return, her team was afraid to make decisions for fear of “messing up”.
She was great at developing followers but was not doing what was necessary to develop leaders. She eventually became overwhelmed. Not being able to keep up with the personal investment it took in not creating an empowering culture.
Delegating properly is an important step in developing your team. You must be willing to experience temporary loss of excellence to later experience exponential growth.
“When you empower the right people, there is no limit to what can be done.”
It can be difficult to give away control when you are used to doing everything yourself. For some people, the task seems nearly impossible. How can you know for sure that your employee can be trusted with the task at hand? Simple. By trusting them. Giving them a chance to show you what they can do over time.
Here are 9 Effective Principles of Delegation for Every Leader
1. Consider the Benefits
You first need to realize that the fastest path to results is usually not the long-term path. Empowering the right people will not only bring you greater results in the future but multiply your results while reducing your personal investment. Delegation is a great time multiplier. Not in the immediate future where it counts little, but the long term future where it counts more. You can have control, or you can have growth. You cannot have both.
2. What Not to Delegate
You shouldn’t be delegating what you cannot pass accountability on. If the person is limited in resources and decision making, you will only create frustration and impede productivity.
3. Determine what you will delegate.
Your goal should be to make decisions only you can make and then delegate the rest. Don’t get caught delegating tasks as from the example above. What you should be delegating is authority in order to create leaders. Clearly define the employee’s responsibility and authority.
4. Choose the Right Person to Delegate the Task to.
Sounds simple enough? However, many leaders delegate just to get tasks off their list. Choose the right project with the right person. It should be something that stretches the employee’s competency so they can grow while ensuring the person has the skills necessary to succeed.
5. Delegate the Results, Not the Process
Once you decide what you will delegate and who you will delegate to, you need to communicate the desired results. It should be clear was success looks like. Remember to delegate the results but not the process. Trust them to determine their own path and process to achievement.
6. Define Your Role
Clarify what role will you play. Coach? Mentor? Which decisions can be made alone and which ones need to be passed by you, if any?
7. Provide the Right Tools
Ensure that the person you are delegating to has the right tools available to achieve the desired results. Tools are the necessary resources a person needs. Some examples of resources are; hardware, software, financial resources, time resources and even the required skills to perform the job.
8. Establish a Follow-up Meeting or Touch Points
When you delegate, you give someone else one of your job tasks to complete with the authority and control to complete it properly. Delegation is not abdication. You share accountability for the assignment, which is why checkpoints are established to monitor overall progress.
9. Learn to Let Go
This is probably the most difficult principle especially if you haven’t delegated often. It can be easy to get caught delegating a task but wanting to keep authority. If you have delegated to the right person, trust that person with the process. Let go.
How comfortable are you with delegation?