Leadership Advance

Leadership Thoughts for Life Long Learners

Four Considerations About Delegating

Leaders learn to delegate.  The truth is, while all leaders delegate, I have come to realize not many do it well, and even fewer feel as though they are good at it.  The flip side of the coin is that there are many leaders that think they are great at delegating, but when you dig a little deeper you recognize they are not delegating effectively.  If delegation is done properly it can produce incredible results.  Delegation can maximize the leaders time, it can broaden their influence, and it can aid in producing incredible opportunity for those the leader surrounds himself with.  A few quick thoughts to consider as it relates to delegation

First, many confuse delegating a project with dumping a project on someone else.  Some leaders pride themselves in being incredible at delegating, but when you dig deeper you will discover those they are “delegating” the project to feel as though the leader is dumping unwanted projects on them.  Nothing will build distrust between a team member and leader faster than when the leader dumps what they do not want to do on someone else.  Shifting something you are responsible for onto someone else is not delegation.

Secondly, delegating without releasing your team member to actually do the work necessary is not delegation at all, but it is a sign of a control issue.  If a project is something you delegate, you must be willing to release the team member to do the hard work, but also you must be the first to praise them for the work when it is done.  A true sign of delegating without releasing is if you try to hold your team member responsible for what goes wrong with the project, but you are the first one that desires all the praise if things go well.

Third, delegation without authority is a recipe for failure.  If you delegate a project you must empower your team member and give them the authority to actually accomplish what you have asked.  You can not delegate a project yet not give the authority required to actually accomplish the project.

Last, delegating without clear expectations and timelines is not true leadership.  Delegation requires the leader to set the tone, expectations and timelines for those he is delegating a project too.  It is unfair to hold a team member responsible to timelines and expectations which have not clearly been communicated by the leader.

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