In leadership, it can sometimes seem like you are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders, or in this case the weight of a business. It feels like you do not have enough time in the day to accomplish everything you need to. While this is normal to experience when running a company, it is not conducive to long-term success.
You probably cannot relate to this, but you may know of someone who utilizes a ‘Don’t worry, I got it’ style of leadership. This is the leader that likes control and takes on any and all tasks of an organization such that they are accomplished exactly how he or she wants them to be — perfect, on-time, and mistake-free. His or her plate is always full with a million tasks, but passing the responsibility and control to someone else is out of the question.
On the contrary, maybe you do delegate tasks to others in your organization, but you suffer from helicopter leadership — looking over their shoulders, micromanaging their every move, and not allowing them the freedom to complete the task as they see fit.
The above types of leadership will not serve you in the long term and will create burnout over time. That being said, it is important to adopt a delegating leadership style so you do not completely overwhelm yourself, but rather remain effective in your role.
When delegating to other team members, there are a few things a leader must remember to set himself or herself up for success.
Identify which team members or employees can handle certain projects. Who is more detail-oriented? Who can handle working under pressure? This can be determined through mere observation of each individual and how the team works as a whole, or through an informal ‘interview’ process and asking each individual what he or she enjoys doing or exceeds in. By gathering this information, a leader will know which tasks to delegate to which individuals.
Start small. Start with delegating small projects to specific team members and see how they perform. Once it is determined that these projects have been completed adequately and in a timely fashion, a leader will continue to share responsibility with his or her team members.
This next one is among the most important things to remember, however can also be one of the most challenging for leaders: having complete trust and faith in team members to complete the task at hand. Once a task has been delegated, the leader must step back and let the team member fully take the reins. This is the only way that both the leader and team member will learn whether or not delegating the task was a good decision.
Lastly, just like all other forms of leadership, this delegating leadership style starts at the top. A leader must outline expectations, so team members understand what and how they must perform. By setting these expectations, not only is the team member clear on what he or she is expected to accomplish, but it also reinforces the leader’s confidence that the project can be effectively completed by someone else.
When delegating, remember there are 3 fiduciary responsibilities of a leader to those in his/her organizational chart.
- Cleary set expectations – what are you, as the leader, expecting to be accomplished by your subordinate?
- How will you measure performance – what are you “inspecting” when you are “expecting”?
- Have you provided all of the tools, training, models, systems, etc. for your subordinate to meet and exceed expectations?
Honor these 3 responsibilities, and delegating becomes a lot easier. Violate them though, and frustration may result!