Leading

Debugging Delegation

There are four reasons people fail to delegate when they should. They

  1. Fear doing it incorrectly. “I don’t know what to delegate or how to delegate. What if I screw it up?”
  2. Fear being the boss. “If I tell them what to do, then they’ll think I’m being a bossy know-it-all and that’s bad. I want to be their friend. I’ll just do it for them.”
  3. Fear loss of control. “When I give away work, it comes back wrong. No matter how many times I explain it, they don’t get it. I might as well do it myself.”
  4. Fear loss of value. “If I give away the work, then what would I do? How will I earn my keep?”

When we fail to delegate we deplete our own resources, waste the time, talent, and potential of the people around us, and leave undone all the important, strategic work that our roles require us to do.

If you or someone you know is taking on too much, is too busy, is not getting to the higher-level work, or is showing signs of exhaustion then these tips will help:

  1. You can learn to delegate well. Here is a good template for delegation that delivers results. Do budget some time to teach and to give feedback, coaching, and direction; the return on that investment is high. Start small, seek feedback, and keep practicing.
  2. You can be the boss. When you fret about whether people will like or respect you as you play the role of boss, you are focused on yourself. “Turn the camera” and focus on them. Ask yourself, “What do they need in order to be successful?” (Hints: clarity, focus, feedback, context, and coaching to know where they fit, what to do, how to do it, and how to improve over time.) They need you to delegate. As soon as you turn the camera toward them, you will find being the boss who serves their needs very natural, authentic, and meaningful.
  3. Your work is always very valuable. It is understandable that you might question your value if others are doing the work. From a very early age, we were judged on what we accomplish. “Did you do your homework? Did you practice your piano? Did you make your bed, brush your teeth, remember you coat?…” We learn to get stuff done, to value ourselves for what we get done, and to manage our time so that we can get stuff done.  When you become a leader, things change. We judge leaders differently. Leaders help others get stuff done, are valued for creating an environment so that others can get stuff done, and manage their time so they can be available to help others.

 

In your corner,

Mike

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