Dreading Delegation? Why Its More Vital To Leadership Than You May Think


Cy Wakeman, Contributor

August 27, 2015

If you are in a management or leadership position, you are no doubt there for a reason. Over time, you’ve proven yourself and shown you have what it takes to get things done. Chances are you are highly motivated, productive and have demonstrated your ability to get results.

These strengths are music to any CEO’s ears and something you should certainly be proud of. But the truth is that these exact same traits that got you so far also have the ability to hold you back if you’re not careful.

How, you might wonder? After leading a group of employees or overseeing certain processes for so long, it can be tough to remove yourself from it. Often times, we find ourselves very comfortable with what we’ve come to know for so long and, as a result, stepping out of the day to day can be difficult to say the least. We might even find it challenging to trust our teams and resist providing them with daily guidance. After all, you’ve got this. But do they? What if you step away and it all falls apart?

If this sounds familiar, then what I’m about to point out next may sting a bit. If your people are that dependent on you, the problem isn’t with them–it’s with you. You (as their manager) have created this by over-managing and under-leading and it’s time to put an end to it once and for all by giving them more independence and believing in their capabilities. At the end of the day, it’s about growth for both you and your team. How will either party make it to the next level if both are complacent and not being challenged?

This is where delegation comes in. As a leader, you will free up time that can be used for other efforts and your team will gain valuable knowledge and experience as they take on new tasks. So don’t fight it. Embracing delegation is a win for everyone involved. Here’s how to get started:

Think ROI and strengths. Manage your time and talent by figuring out what is the best use of your time, energy and strengths. As vice president, should you be running copies or prepping for that big presentation? Are your design skills the best or is there someone else on your team who could step up and make your project even better? Think about how you truly spend your time and delegate that which does not serve you or the organization.

Focus on your team’s development. Have a development plan in place for each of your team members and delegate based on their own professional goals and growth potential. Assign new tasks and open the door to new opportunities so that your team can build upon their skill sets and build confidence as they work toward their objectives.

Avoid dumping and plan accordingly. Help your employees understand the link between what you want them to do and how it can help them reach their professional goals. Show them that you have their best interests in mind and they will be more receptive and compelled to help versus handing it off with little to no explanation or understanding of why they were chosen to help. And don’t let your team start off at a disadvantage. Delegate early to ensure there is adequate time and resources for them to complete what is needed.

Be clear, but don’t micromanage. Once you have decided to delegate a project, set clear expectations and predefined checkpoints and avoid getting in the middle as it is no longer your project. Communicate the transition to your team to avoid confusion. Step back and use the time you’ve now gained to pursue other goals and tasks.

Consider delegation a reward for a job well done. When it comes to handing off an important task, assignment should not be taken lightly. Do not delegate to those who lack ambition or have performance issues. Rather, select team members who are reliable, have strong growth potential and are open to learning. These are your best people whose development you want to make a priority.

Delegation may be painful at first, but it’s necessary for those looking to rise through the ranks. All great leaders have done it, you could be next!

Cy Wakeman is a leadership coach, workplace consultant, New York Times bestselling author, and international keynote speaker who has spent over 20 years cultivating a reality-based approach to work/life challenges. For more on Cy, check out www.realitybasedleadership.com or follow her on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

Also on Forbes:

How America’s Top CEOs Motivate Employees–And Get Results

This article was written by Cy Wakeman from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.

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