Learning to delegate often poses a challenge for leaders. Knowing how, to whom, what to delegate, and the impact of delegation, are questions you can consider. Taking this approach can help you develop, practice, and master the art of delegation to lead effectively.
Before deciding to delegate, a leader needs to become OK with the idea of what delegation means, that, change is imminent and letting go is part of the process. For leaders I have coached, this frequently shows up as the first hurdle they face.
Resistance to letting go shows up when coaching leaders through the process of delegating.
This is often linked to thoughts about giving up control, fear of the unknown, and leaders questioning their own inability to know how to do something. Challenging these assumptions allows you to think through the obstacles you are creating which currently limits the opportunity of delegation.
When exploring the What If’s – if I let go and delegate vs if I don’t let go and don’t delegate, you begin to identify the positive benefits of playing to the strengths of your team. This enables you to realize the potential of delegating responsibility and tasks to your team.
Becoming a delegative leader allows more time for you to develop your growth mindset, strengths, and leadership style, harness and develop the strengths and performance of the team, become less anxious and overwhelmed, collectively meet expectations and achieve/exceed outcomes, drive personal and business growth, encourage curiosity and creativity, and lead by example.
Tip: Having worked through the process of letting go, leaders find value in making a commitment to delegation through an affirmation such as ‘I am ready for someone I trust’ or “I trust NAME’. An affirmation, with the name of the person you want to delegate responsibility to, can support your commitment to letting go and looking forward to winning outcomes.
On a recent coaching call, a client shared an example of delegation in action.
A leader was appointed to her team. Being new in her role, the leader wanted to get to know her team. A task was presented to write an email outline for a project. The leader identified writing as not being one of her strengths and reached out to my client for support. The leader showed recognition of the strength she could harness from her team. My client felt appreciated to be asked and valued as an individual and for her strength to write well. A positive outcome with positive feedback. A great lesson in awareness, vulnerability, strengths, value, trust, growth, and celebration. These aspects are keys to the success of the art of delegation.
To help you become a delegative leader, here are my 10 Rs of Effective Delegation:
- Reality. Spend time sensemaking and ask yourself ‘What benefit is delegation for me, the team, and the organization?’
- Resistance. Explore and identify what you are resisting. Is it fear of the unknown, giving up control, or staying in your comfort zone?
- Resources. Focus on potential and play to the strengths of your team. How can strengths be harnessed to make individuals shine?
- Reframe. For each example of resistance challenge your assumption. Focus on flipping the switch to ‘What if I do’ delegate. Visualize the positive outcome.
- Responsibility. Commit and affirm your readiness. ‘I trust NAME to be responsible for TASK/PROJECT’ Give ownership to your chosen team members.
- Release. Celebrate the point of letting go. Reflect on how you feel, what you have learned, and what you look forward to achieving.
- Respect. Give individuals 100% autonomy to avoid micro-managing. This will build self-awareness in you and your team and establishes a culture of trust.
- Recognition. Show your appreciation and the value each team member contributes, consistently.
- Review. Measure and create a culture of accountability and feedback to enhance and drive personal performance and business growth.
- Reward. Celebrate your team and the progress achieved on a regular basis.
To master the art of delegation it is essential to lead with a growth mindset.
Leading with an open and progressive approach by giving autonomy and responsibility to the right people, builds trust, collaboration, value, awareness, loyalty, and sustainable working practices, where everyone can shine.
Leading the delegation process with a growth mindset allows you to see and act on the opportunity of challenges and change, learn to share responsibilities, and improve and strengthen as individuals and as a team.
When you supercharge delegation as a leader, you ultimately empower and enable people to want to work with you, and be part of your team, not just turn up for a paycheque each month.