The most outstanding leaders are “delegation masters.” Why? Because they know how to empower their teams to get work done. But, it’s not only about getting work done or knowing how to share tasks in the best way—it’s also all about creating an environment where work is meaningful, teams feel connected, and people are developing. Research shows that delegation is directly correlated to:
- Organizational Effectiveness
- Stress Reduction
- Increased Motivation
- Job Satisfaction
- Individual and Team Development
Delegation is all about effectively directing individuals on their specific responsibilities and expectations to make meaningful contributions to the overall organization and purpose. Leaders who know how to effectively delegate work can see past just “checking off a list” or passively handing off a task; leaders who delegate empower others to grow, learn, and do their best work. We all crave autonomy in our roles and want a sense of ownership over what we do—delegation helps structure tasks and further clarify team and individual expectations.
Effective delegation depends on understanding WHEN to delegate, WHAT to delegate and to WHOM. In other words, matching strengths with tasks is absolutely essential. Before distributing tasks, think about each employee’s capabilities, development needs, motivators, and availability. Decide who is the “best fit” for each role. Be “picky” when choosing who for what task. Assigning tasks that utilize the employees’ strengths & motivators makes work meaningful, engaging, and efficient.
By stimulating collaboration, organizations thrive. People feel their contributions are valued and their opinions are heard. Encourage team members to learn from one another by embracing others’ thoughts and ideas, keeping an open mind to all possible solutions.
- Is this a task that someone else can do or is it critical that you do it yourself?
- Does the task provide an opportunity to grow and develop another person’s skills?
- Do you have enough time to delegate the job effectively? (Time must be available for adequate training, questions and answers, and opportunities to check progress or rework, if necessary).
- If I’m not delegating, “Why? What is preventing me from delegating more?”
Often, a leader observes a creative employee and wants to delegate more to them. However, the employee is inconsistent in their follow-through or implements in a manner not in keeping with important guidelines, like spelling or grammar errors in emails or presentations. So, the leader hesitates to have a possibly difficult conversation and instead simply does the task himself. This is a formula for disaster. Eventually, the leader becomes stressed by the preponderance of daily tasks and can begin to micro-manage, which hinders the employee’s “growth,” prevents the leader from developing, and limits the capacity to expand the business.
To delegate effectively, sit down with the employee and discuss their perspectives on the project and the tasks at hand. Provide feedback on your expectations and ask for their expectations about the project. You, as a leader, may find there are new methods, especially utilizing technology, that can save time and enhance the final product or service, as well.
Once work has been delegated, ensure you are continuously checking in as a leader. Ask if the employee needs help, further clarification, additional resources, or even an extension on a deadline.
LEADERSHIP TAKEAWAY: Overall, it’s every leader’s responsibility to grow their people and, in fact, to make themselves dispensable. Mastering delegation, although it doesn’t always come easy, is the fuel for employees and leaders to develop and for the organization to expand.
Would you like to be a better leader? Contact us about leadership training that can advance your business.
Dr. Cheri Rainey is the CEO/Founder of Rainey Leadership Learning, partnering with leaders to support the entire employee life cycle.