Leading at a high level does not happen overnight. It’s like planting some seeds and growing by drip irrigation — not a flash flood. One of the first steps is learning the art and skill of delegation. When you learn to delegate and share the power, you grow in influence. Until you let go of what is in your hand, you cannot receive something new.
But why do leaders struggle to delegate both routine and important tasks? Here are five potential explanations:
1. Insecurity and the fear of losing authority: Some people think, “if I give it away, I may become irrelevant.” The opposite is true – the more you give away, the more you get.
2. Fear of the job being done poorly: Let others learn and make mistakes … just like we did once. Delegating builds trust, time, patience and tremendous returns.
3. Fear of the job being done better: But if someone you train does the job better, it’s to your credit.
4. Lack of training: Many leaders do not spend much time training. Good leaders get a regular training plan on their schedule.
5. Impatience: It takes a lot of patience to train, coach, develop and delegate. Take baby steps; give people time to grow.
But what are the real benefits of delegation? Here are a few:
1. You have time to think. Time to reflect on your vision, strategy, plans, goals. You take the time to prioritize and arrange work so that you and your team is focused on what’s wildly important.
2. You have time to communicate your vision with clarity: If you walked around and asked everyone on your team, ‘what’s my vision?’ – would they all have the same response.
3. You can focus on recruitment and training of leaders: 80% of your work comes from 20% of your people. Delegating allows you to maximize the use of your time to invest in the people who will give the greatest return.
Delegating is one skill that may present the greatest challenge, but yield the biggest result. Take a step, take another.