by Andria Corso
One of the great opportunities of leadership is the delegation of tasks to others, which not only frees up your time to be more strategic but also develops those employees to whom you’ve delegated.
Although it is a great opportunity for leaders, it is also a great challenge. Delegating means letting go of a fair amount of, if not all of, the control associated with the way tasks are completed. I find this to be a struggle for many leaders, myself included.
As the owner of my business, I find that letting go of tasks and delegating to others can be quite a challenge at times. What if they don’t do it right? What if they don’t get it done on time? What if they upset the clients?
These “what if’s” can go on forever! I’ve tortured myself through many of them and I’ve seen many of my clients do the same. What I’ve learned, both personally and through working with others in this area, are some key steps to take to ease concerns about delegating to others.
First, you want to have a high degree of confidence in the people you delegate to; therefore, be diligent in your selection of those you hire to work for you. Often times leaders are in a hurry to get a position filled so do not take enough time to be sure they are making the best selection. Without confidence that you have the best people on your team, delegating can be difficult. Yet, when you know you’ve got the right people in place, it is much easier to delegate with assurance.
Second, you will probably need a fair amount of updates and status checks on how your team is doing with the tasks. (Usually I need more updates and status checks early in the relationship.) Once you get to know the individuals and their work ethic, and your relationship develops, the amount of check-ins decreases because the expectations are well understood, and your confidence in their ability to meet your expectations increases.
Lastly, you want to change any “what if” comments from negative to positive. So, instead of thinking, “What if they don’t do it right?” try, “What if they do it better than I ever could?” Or, “What if this works out better than I thought?” That mindset shift will help you expect the best as opposed to expecting things to go wrong.
Does this mean things never go wrong? Of course not but it certainly sets up an environment that is more expectant of success than if you continue to think of all the possible ways things could go wrong.
Although this is not always easy for leaders, letting go of control and delegating is necessary and highly beneficial for all. It not only enables you, the leader, to focus on more strategic items but it motivates your workforce to take on more responsibility and fosters more employee development.