A leader has many jobs, but one of the most important by far is the ability to delegate.
I learned this lesson very early in my career…
As a young Lieutenant, I was placed in charge of laboratory operations. In addition to supervising all personnel assigned to the labs, I was also responsible for preparing monthly reports.
The reports took a tremendous amount of time to prepare, which tied me to my desk. After three months of not getting everything done, I realized I needed to do something different, if I wanted to be successful.
During a meeting with my mentor, I explained my frustration. He asked me a brilliant question that changed my way of work. He said, “have you tried delegating tasks that someone else can do?”
It was a light bulb moment…
Delegation effectively means the ability to take tasks and assign them to other people. Now this might seem like an easy job – in fact it might even sound like something you do in order to get out of a job!
In reality though, delegation is one of the most important tasks there is for a leader and it’s something you need to work hard at to get it right. Let’s take a look at why this is the case and how to do it well.
A good leader needs to be someone who is able to understand the basics of every department under their instruction. This means they need to have a wide general knowledge, even if they aren’t someone who has a lot of in-depth understanding on any one given topic.
The reason this is so important, is that it is going to allow you to get involved with every department and discuss with them what they need to be doing, what problems might have arisen etc. When your team members explain there is an issue, you need to understand what they mean.
Here’s why delegating is critical…
First, there are going to be people who are better than you at every task. And that means you need to be able to assign tasks to the right people to get the best results. Once you’ve done this, you need to step back and trust that person to do their job and do it well.
The mistake that many of us make, is to assume that people won’t be able to work without our supervision. This is called micromanaging and it is something that no one appreciates!
The second reason it’s very important to be able to delegate is that you need the time to be able to guide your team.
You need to be able to see the bigger picture, to predict the future and to help your organization get where it needs to go. To do that, you need to work on the business. That means you can’t be working in it!
Are you working in, or on your organization?
Dr. Kim Moore, guiding YOU to lead with confidence!
Dr. Kim Moore
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