As a leader or business owner, you’ve probably done it. In fact, you may still be doing it and not even realize it – or the impact it’s having on you and your business. I’m talking about questioning the purpose of delegation in management.
You just can’t help yourself, can you?
But you’re drowning in work. Endless to-do lists, mountains of paperwork, calls and emails to return, bookkeeping and more – but instead of delegating some of those tasks, you choose to take them all on yourself. Why? Maybe because you’re uncomfortable asking for help. Maybe you’re uncomfortable giving up control. Maybe you tell yourself it’s just quicker and easier to do it yourself than to take time to teach someone else how to do it.
There’s just no way out. Except there is…
The Case for Delegation in Management
Delegation is a critical leadership skill. According to a professor of organizational behavior at Stanford, ‘Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.’
Delegation benefits nearly everyone – yet it remains one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management capabilities. In fact, a 2007 study on time management found that nearly half of the 332 companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ delegation skills – but only 28 percent of those companies offered any training on delegation in management, the importance of delegation in management or even reasons to delegate.
But whether you realize it or not, delegation in management serves to develop employees and to identify future leaders. Further, it sends a powerful message to your employees that they are trusted, competent and valued.
Still not convinced? Consider these reasons for delegation in management.
- Scope. As your company grows (Well done, by the way!), you’ve got new tasks to worry about. What was once your responsibility likely falls out of the scope of where your expertise and time are now needed. So you’ll need to let your employee take over the tasks you’ve outgrown – with guidance and help if they get stuck or have questions, of course.
- Development. As a manager, it’s your job to develop people but doing everything leaves employees with few challenges and opportunities for growth. The long-term result of this approach? Employee turnover. Your focus instead should be on bringing out the best in your employees while developing areas in which they lack strength in order to help them advance their careers.
- Trust. Trust is a fundamental, foundational building block in any relationship – professional and personal – and nothing kills trust like micromanagement. Trust begets trust, so if you want your team to trust you, you need to lead by example and trust them. You hired them for a reason, right? So communicate expectations, give feedback and then – this is the tricky part – give employees the freedom to leverage their particular strengths.
- Collaboration. Workloads and everyday tasks are usually – if you’re delegating, that is – divided up amongst a team and for everything to run smoothly, every member of the team must work together. Delegation is like solving a puzzle as a team: Everyone knows that in spite of the fact that they aren’t responsible for all the puzzle pieces, their work contributes to the greater good – and that is endlessly motivating.
Delegation in management isn’t simply a way of unloading your responsibilities; it’s how business owners and leaders can benefit from the powerful, multiplying effects of entrusting others to do that for which they were hired. As you delegate, you not only free yourself from a busyness mountain of your own creation, but you also, in turn, develop the kind of employees and leaders that allow you, them and your business to grow.
At BELAY, we help busy business leaders with delegation everyday. We want to share our FREE TOOL with you, too.
Download our delegation matrix today to easily identify the tasks that only you can do (and what others can do for you).