I was asked to cover this subject by one of our readers and as it is such a big area to discuss I will run it over the next 2 months.
Whether you are running your own business or you lead a team, your results come mainly from the activity of others – or they should! However it is not unknown for business owners or team leaders to undertake many tasks that other team members really should be capable of doing.
The reason for this is a reluctance to delegate.
There are several reasons or excuses for why leaders might fail to delegate
Here are just a few:
- A lack of experience in their own position or in ever having a team
- A lack of confidence in their own ability to delegate
- The need to stay in control
- Perfectionist tendencies i.e. ‘No-one can do anything as well as I can’
- A lack of confidence in the abilities of their team
- The need to feel important i.e. ‘This whole place would fall apart if it wasn’t for me’
- A reluctance to invest the time and effort in learning what it takes to delegate successfully
Now, in some of the cases above it is understandable. However leaders who do not delegate, or delegate very little, fail to utilise the full talent pool they have at their disposal, and in turn lose the opportunity to develop others. They also spend time on minor tasks rather than making the most of their own experience, skills and talent.
So what is effective delegation?
Well, first you need to understand what delegation is really all about. It’s about giving responsibility to others, building their confidence and developing their own skills and abilities. It gives them authority and, more importantly, it gives them accountability. This leads to true empowerment.
But remember – the ultimate responsibilities lie with you, the leader. If something is not done, or is not done correctly, you can’t say that you delegated that task so you are not responsible.
This is why delegation is a practiced skill!