develop delegation
Develop The Art Of Delegation
Sep 24, 2021 5 min read

You glance at the clock, it's 7 pm, and you are still in the office. You promised your daughter you would be home early to help with her project. Looking at your pile of work, a feeling of overwhelm begins to wash over you. You know you will be home late again! As you feel guilty at letting your daughter down, you resume work with a sigh. 

Suppressing your emotions, you try to focus on the presentation, asking yourself why you did not delegate some portions of it to your team. The answer for you lies in the fact that the client is vital to the organisation, and you felt no one else in the team could accomplish the end product as you do.

Finally, at 8.30 pm, you enter home feeling stressed and exhausted from all the mental and emotional drain you experienced earlier on. 

Does this scenario or some parts of it sound familiar to you? As a leader, are you struggling with delegation?

What stops us from delegating to make our lives simpler?

The inability to delegate effectively results from emotional barriers, faulty beliefs, and a lack of understanding of resources available, i.e. people's strengths and abilities.

If you can relate to any of the reasons outlined below that prevent you from delegating effectively, then chances are you are putting emotional and physical strain on yourself, which impacts your well being and sense of balance in both your personal and professional life. 

  • Being a perfectionist or having high standards and fearing others will not uphold them makes you do the task yourself.
  • Investing the time in explaining the task and its expectations can feel like a lot of time wasted, especially with timebound tasks. The thinking here is, 'I might as well do it myself; it's easier!'
  • Again, you think that if you are responsible for someone else's work, you would instead do it yourself.
  • You think you are adding to someone else s burden, and it makes you feel guilty. 
  • You have more empathy for others than for yourself.
  • You have always assumed responsibility in your life; hence, your automatic thinking and habits make you feel responsible. 
  • You delegated a couple of times, and it did not go well. 
  • You do not know and understand your team's strengths hence you find it difficult to trust them.

As a leader, if you cannot delegate effectively, the most significant impact on you is that you remain caught in details vs gaining the capacity to be strategic to carry your organisation forward.

Leaders sometimes express frustration at the fact that their teams are not developing fast enough when actually their people simply do not have the opportunity to do so. Not being able to delegate effectively, as a leader you can prevent people from growing and learning.

Tips to help you become comfortable with delegation

It is true, effective delegation is an art and a key leadership skill. It requires executives to develop patience and clarity of communication because you need to complete the delegation cycle each time we delegate. 

Here are some tips that can help you developed your leadership skill and competence in the area of delegation

  • Understand your resistance to delegation – Reflect on what you fear will go wrong? Do you see risks in delegation? Do you harbour a need for high safety in your job? Are you a perfectionist? Gaining clarity on the core reason for not delegating is helpful.
  • Explore your feelings - What feelings come up when you think of delegation. Are they valid, or are they rooted in assumptions your mind is making?
  • Challenge your assumptions if they exist. Determine facts.
  • Take time to understand the strengths of your team members. Know who will be the best person for the task based on their capabilities and talents. 
  • Take small steps towards delegation. Start with a low-risk delegation, and as your confidence grows, you can move to more significant tasks. 
  • Develop a growth mindset in your people and yourself. Use mistakes as learning opportunities to grow and develop.

    The inability to delegate is one of the biggest problems managers face and yet it is one that has the most significant impact on creating successful businesses and personal lives

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