If you lead people, then you delegate, and if you delegate, then you have said (or thought) words to the effect of: “It would be quicker/easier/cheaper/safer to do the job myself!” And you are right. However, in the absence of a cloning machine, there is only one of you and the simple fact is that to lead well you must learn to delegate well.
This requires a major paradigm shift that goes like this: successful delegation is about growing people not outsourcing tasks. “What? That sounds like MORE work not less!” Right again! But unless your work as a leader is about developing people, then you will always battle with delegation and your team will only ever be as strong as its weakest link.
Here is a simple strategy to help you delegate well:
PARTNER: I work with you to complete the task and I am just as accountable as you.
ENABLE: I provide you with necessary skills, training and resources to help us succeed.
SUPPORT: I support and guide you, encouraging you to ask questions of me.
When we partner in delegation, we become jointly accountable for the outcome – positive or negative – of the delegated task. In other words, you are just as responsible for the success of a task as the individual you are delegating to. A successful partnership is all about good engagement.
If we engage well as partners in delegation, we dramatically increase our chances of completing the task successfully. Many leaders imagine that delegation is all about barking a list of instructions and exiting with the words: “AND I WANT IT DONE YESTERDAY!” This only works if you are a human wrecking ball on a mission to destroy the business! This approach is counter-productive and many businesses fail because their people have not been taught to delegate well. Next week we will look at some practical steps for successful delegation