“I don’t have a problem with delegation. I love to delegate. I am either lazy enough, or busy enough, or trusting enough, or congenial enough, that the notion leaving tasks in someone else’s lap doesn’t just sound wise to me, it sounds attractive.” -John Ortberg
It should come as no surprise to anyone that the greatest and most self-aware leaders know that they can’t do it all. The ability to delegate important tasks to other people and then trust them to complete those tasks with efficiency and accuracy is one of the most important skills a leader can possess. If you were to point out a leader that is burnt out and at their wit’s end, you would most likely also see a leader that has never attained the skill of proper delegation.
In essence, leadership and delegation are almost synonymous. When a leader learns to delegate important tasks to another person they have reached a pinnacle of success that many fail to attain.
What does great delegation look like though? How can a leader decide what they should delegate and what they need to spearhead on their own? The reality is there is not really much that a leader can’t delegate to their team. We have put together a few pointers for you when it comes to delegating like a boss. These simple rules for delegation will help you take your leadership to the next level and get more done.
Work hard to improve your self-awareness as a leader.
Many leaders simply delegate the things that they don’t like to do. It can be easy to decide that the things that you don’t like to do are the things that you aren’t good at. This probably isn’t true, though. Many great leaders learn that they are often good at the tasks they don’t particularly enjoy. They also realize that there are things that they enjoy doing that members of their team are actually better at than they are. You might enjoy speaking in front of large groups of people for example, but you have a team member that is really good at connecting with an audience. Don’t be afraid to realize that other people have talents that are more refined than yours might be. This takes a level of self-awareness that goes beyond what most are willing to accept.
When delegating, ask for a final product instead of giving a road map.
There is a fine line between great delegation and micromanaging. Don’t cross the line! Instead, be intentional about casting the vision to your team about what you would like to see accomplished. It is okay for you to give some rules of engagement but work hard to allow your team members to map out the plan on their own. If you tell them what to accomplish and how to accomplish it you are essentially clipping your team’s wings when it comes to creativity and ingenuity. Make sure that you allow room for people to accomplish things differently than you would. Remember, your way isn’t always going to be the best way!
Know your team.
In addition to being self-aware, a great delegator must be aware of the skills and talents of the people they delegate to. Don’t delegate things to someone you know will struggle with those specific tasks. Be aware of their current workload and delegate to someone else if a team member has too much on their plate at the moment.
The greatest thing a leader can do (aside from delegation) is to support their team. The mantra of a great leader should always be, “My greatest leadership priority is helping my team solve their problems when they need me to.” If you simply spit out orders and then close your office door on your team, you are taking away the most valuable tool your team has: your input and advice. Be sure to always be available to help guide your team and mentor them when they need it.
Remember, all great leaders are great delegators. If you believe you are a strong leader and haven’t mastered this skill then you just might have a blind spot! Take the time to evaluate yourself in this area. Ask those around you about your skills when it comes to delegation. Ask them how you can improve and then take the advice!