I have been forced to learn over the years that I cannot do everything myself. This is especially true when you are building a team, department or organization. I have always prided myself in learning everything there is to know about my current initiative, job, life event etc. Even when I was pregnant with my first child, I was bound and determined to read and understand everything there was to know about delivering a baby so I could guide the doctor if he ran into trouble. Some would say I like to be in control. I would rather believe that if I learn enough about things I can at least ask the right questions. But seriously, when you have developed a process or anything else for that matter and give it to someone else only to get it back later in a shambles, it makes you a little jaded. Typically this is when people begin to juggle everything themselves. However, this not only sets unrealistic expectations of others but especially of yourself. There is a much bigger risk with holding on to all the bits and pieces rather than acknowledging you need some help. It’s been proven over and over that the more effective managers are better at delegating than those who try to “be in control.” The keys are setting priorities, providing help and support, and designing the right work flows—not your personal effort.
So, if we know it is an important key for our success, why don’t we delegate? Here are some of the excuses I routinely hear:
- No Time – I have no time to teach a team member the tasks.
- No Energy – It takes a lot of energy to follow-up and keep team members on task for success.
- I Can Do It Better – I know what needs to be done and can do it better and faster so I’ll just do it.
Why Should I? – Why should I train someone to do my job?
Why? If you are in a leadership position, your job is to take the time and the energy to train others to do more so that the you, your team, and your organization are more successful.
So let’s remind ourselves of the benefits of quality delegation.
- You multiply yourself – The more you delegate, the more you create team members that can accomplish much more in much less time. You are known as someone who gets things done with self-directed teams.
- You create a motivated group – The more you delegate, the more your team members are motivated because they see you as someone who trusts them and their abilities to get things accomplished. Because your team is motivated, they take more initiative to create solutions, be more creative, and are willing to take on more responsibilities.
- You master stress and time management skills – You are forced to prioritize your tasks and realize that there are tasks that you do not need to do, yet would be perfect tasks to develop your team members. By learning how to prioritize your tasks for delegation, you will be less stressed during the workday and go home at the end of the day satisfied that you accomplished more.
- You are known as a person who develops people – The more you delegate, the more you will be known within the organization as a person who develops people. Remember, even when you think no one is watching, someone is always watching the way you achieve success by developing your people. Whether it’s management, other teams, departments or divisions, someone is watching. The word will spread about how well you develop people. The results, management will see you as a developer of people; and other employees, both inside and outside of your organization, will fight to work for you because they know you have a motivated, creative working environment.
- You create opportunities for yourself and others – By delegating tasks to others, you can then take on more advanced tasks that will prepare you for future opportunities when they become available. This is the main reason why the excuse “if I delegate my tasks to my employees, then they can take my job” doesn’t fly in my book. Another reason why you delegate tasks is so that you can develop yourself for future promotions, monetary, and career opportunities. For example, if you want to become vice president for your organization and you know that skills C, D, and Z are required by all vice presidents, then delegate any management tasks that you have already mastered to your team members so that you can then ask for more “vice presidential” tasks. When that position is available within or outside of the organization, who do you think will have the inside track? You will! Because you can say you already have the skills of a vice president, while developing the people behind you to fill the void when you are promoted. Also, as a leader, you never want your team members to be with you in the same position forever. Thus, delegating tasks continuously prepares them for opportunities that may come their way.
Tell us, how do you delegate tasks successfully?