Delegation as a term has been widely used in various spectrums from philosophies to modern leadership books. While everyone who has ever talked about delegation has had different approaches towards it, everyone seems to agree on one main point: that delegation is important for an organization and its workforce to thrive. It’s the fruit of effective leadership.
But why is delegation an important factor for effective leadership?
To answer this question we’ll have to take a look at what delegation actually is. Delegation is the assignment of authority to another person to carry out specific tasks or activities. It is the process of distributing and entrusting work to team members by someone in a leadership position. Since deciding what not to do is equally as important as deciding what to do, effective delegation becomes a clear indicator of efficient time management by the leader.
The best leaders in the world are master delegators. It’s because they are aware about how to empower their teams to get work done. Along with sharing tasks, they also create an environment where employees are proud of their work and can call it their own.
However, as important and significantly easy delegation sounds, it is a skill that comes with practice. Leaders often fail to delegate effectively or they do but later fall into the trap of micro-management which benefits neither the employees nor the leader.
What factors affect a leader’s delegation skills?
Lack of delegation can arrive due to a plethora of reasons, but here are a few major ones.
Fear of losing importance can be an important factor. Many leaders may fear that if the delegated tasks are completed efficiently, their importance in the work setting would decrease.
Lack of trust and confidence within the teammates is another major reason. When there isn’t trust built within the team, assigning responsibilities and tasks becomes difficult for the leader.
Perfection mania is also a major reason for inefficient delegation. Many leaders are promoted to their leadership roles because they are high performers. High-performing leaders can sometimes be perfectionists who struggle to let go of operational-level tasks in the fear that the tasks won’t be completed ‘their way’.
Loss of control as a factor could be tied with perfection mania. Perfectionist leaders often feel out of control while delegating tasks because of the fear that the tasks won’t be completed on their terms.
Thinking: ‘I can do it better’ is a factor responsible for inefficient delegation too.
How to delegate effectively?:
Developing effective delegation can take some time, but with persistence, it is very much achievable.
Delegate with the goal of team development:
A team leader should start with understanding their team members’ individual development goals. Keeping a visual reminder of those goals can help the leader look for opportunities to delegate based on the teams’ strengths and weaknesses. Effective delegation builds team morale and is an important part of high-performing teams.
Establish clear expectations:
The team leader should make it clear what they need and when they need things completed. The desired outcome needs to be made clear in the discussion, and the team members should have the responsibility and authority to get the delegated work done. Team leaders opening a channel of clear communication, where all minor and major task-related questions can be asked is crucial.
Provide regular feedback:
Employees always appreciate genuine acknowledgment that their work is well-received and that they’ve done a good job. Team leaders should be specific with them on what they did well. This not only reinforces positive behavior but also establishes trust between the team leader and team members.
When leaders learn to delegate effectively, their time is freed up and they can work on priorities that are key to moving the business forward. Delegation involves more than just doling out tasks to other members of the team. Successful leaders carefully consider what to delegate and who to delegate. They understand how delegation makes their team more efficient. Leadership development is a great way to teach leaders how to leverage delegation for improved productivity, empowered employees, and skill-building.