by Andre Young
NOTE: This is the third in an ongoing series of posts from Andre that will provide timely tips for developing your unique leadership style.
The delegation of responsibilities would appear to be a logical part of leadership; and in theory it is. However, in actual practice, it can be a sticking point for many leaders within organizations and teams. Some leaders like the job they were originally hired to do and choose to nobly stay in the weeds with their team. Some believe no one can do it like them and will mess it up; therefore it’s best for that leader to do it all. Others wear their “Badge of Busy” with pride and ego of how much they can do. While others are uncomfortable delegating all together… or believe it or not… are being bullied by their employees. Yes, this is a real thing!
I’ve had the honor of conducting many Leadership Trainings for organizations and teams and will never forget the first time a C-Suite Executive asked me, “If I say or delegate ____________, what if they say ____(rude/sarcastic comment)?”. This shocked me for several reasons… My first thought was how comfortable their staff was to make such a snappy and rude comment regarding their job. My second thought was, how do they still have a job here? So, why do we need to delegate, what are the wins related to delegating, and how to do it?
The 3 BIG Wins of Delegating
1. Delegating allows leaders to build other leaders. Remember, managers focus on the job… while leaders focus on their people that do the job! It may feel good and personally rewarding to know as much as you know, do as much as you do, and be depended on so heavily; however if the ship sinks every time you walk away, take a vacation, or attempt to enjoy life outside of work… THAT’S NOT LEADERSHIP and will eventually lead you to burn-out!
In my early days working in a Mental Health facility, I was the superstar! I could relate to anyone and everyone, manage the day-to-day, deescalate any crisis (big or small), and there were days I entered the building with staff removing my jacket and taking my briefcase as I went into “Emergency Fix-It Superstar Mode.” This period of my professional life was pumping my ego, but not my leadership! What would happen if I took the day off? It would have certainly been more chaotic for the team and facility, but the world wouldn’t have stopped spinning. My staff would still have been at work, dealing, and managing.
It was time to evolve and teach what I knew, understand their superpower, step back, and let it get uncomfortable before it could get better; being sure staff became more confident in their leadership (their way… not only my way) and winning the day as they better connected with clients and staff. I quickly passed this message to every “Allstar Worker” that came after me. Leaders know when to step away, why to step away, how to step away, and when to step back in.
2. Delegation allows leaders to reduce their load. Crisis, as well as the desire to get promoted or retire, will always show us just how busy we really are. When crisis strikes, professionally or personally, look at all of the busy work and minute details you struggle to maintain and get backed up on. When you want to get promoted… it’s hard to move on when you haven’t trained your successor and the company needs you to stay where you are because you’re the only one that knows how to do it all. When you want to retire, but the company or team would flop if you left right now. I could go on, but you get the point! Delegating will allow you to lighten your load; allowing for growth and evolution to occur… for you and your team!
3. Delegation allows you to move up or move on in peace! This is simple but powerful. Moving on to your next endeavor or retiring in peace… knowing you left the organization, your employees, and your team better than you met them and ready for their future is priceless. Think about it, the natural order all parents wish for is to leave this world before their children do. When this happens, the biggest peace is knowing you’ve helped create and ensure an impacting legacy that will make the world a better place. It’s the same thing for your leadership!
How to Do It?
I’ve found there are three things all leaders can do to best delegate:
Be sure to schedule and follow through with your 1-on-1 Meetings with your people. I continue to share best ways to do this in articles, videos, trainings, and in my book. This is a perfect time to know why your people are working for you, what they want to get out of working with and for you, what they want to get out of the specific meeting, and blending their goals with yours and organizational needs. What a perfect time to begin the process of delegating tasks that will not only help and impact the team but also them professionally! Regularly scheduled 1-on-1s also minimizes organizational and employee surprises, allowing you to enhance your leadership and theirs!
1-on-1 Meetings also allow you to know your people’s Lists. Each of your people have a list of “Things to Do”… and some of your people have quite the list! Being curious and aware of their list will allow for more effective delegation and prioritization of duties. Remember, you may think a person on your staff is only working on what you’ve given them. In fact, they may be working on your list, favors for 5 other people, pending projects, new projects, new ideas, and constantly changing plans… all while working remotely with their dog barking and baby crying. As a leader, know their list and delegate appropriately to increase, decrease, or reprioritize their load according to the vision and mission at hand!
Lastly, I’m honored to share my Leader’s 7 around the world; the 7 Languages your people need, want, and benefit most hearing from leadership. Leaders know their people and are willing to speak their professional language; marrying the team’s vision with their people’s motivation. Knowing someone on your team’s Language is “Knowledge & Advancement” makes it easier to say, “Let me show you how to do this so when the opportunity comes you know how to do this” or “You mentioned your Language is Knowledge & Advancement, let me show you how to do this so you know when I’m not here.” Perhaps they are most motivated by Incentives, Flexibility, Quality Minutes, Recognition & Affirmation, Goodie-Time, and/or Respect. Being curious about their Language may prove to be a big help in how you initiate the delegation process; enhancing not only your leadership and work/life harmony, but your people’s as well!
Have your 1-on-1’s consistently (Bi-Weekly or Monthly), know their List, respect their Language, and delegation will become a simpler and more impactful part of your Leadership & Work/life Harmony and theirs!
Remember… live in your positives, manage the negatives, find that silver lining, and make it brighter for you, your people, and your organization. Enjoy!
Moving on to your next endeavor or retiring in peace… knowing you left the organization, your employees, and team better than you met them and ready for their future is priceless.Andre Young
Andre Young is a speaker, author, leadership trainer, and Founder of You Evolving Now, LLC. He worked as a Mental Health Therapist for 19 years, played sports at every level from high school to professional, been an employee, business owner, and self-employed, and is an author of three books, EVOLVE, 7 Ways to Love, and 7 Ways to Lead. Most people would like to EVOLVE as leaders, professionally and personally, and as Founder of You Evolving Now it is Andre’s mission to enhance their leadership with his books, on-site speaking engagements, and leadership programs.