Most leadership, management, and efficiency experts will tell you that delegation is a good thing. And it is. They will cite many reasons to do it, with the one typically rising to the top being, to be able to leverage yourself more.
I think that the best reason to delegate is, quite simply, for the pure development and growth of people in the organization. And for the purposes of this discussion, when I talk about delegation, it is not the assignment of regular work that team members are normally expected to carry out. By delegation, I mean giving them work that ordinarily you, as the organizational leader, would carry out.
It is true, that, as a leader, you are responsible for getting things done. Getting the goals and objectives of the organization completed is important. And solving the day to day problems of the organization is part of that. However, in my opinion, your main responsibility as a leader, is to keep the organization moving forward and growing, in terms of their capabilities and skills. Therefore, one of the most important ways you can do that is by delegating certain things to your people.
Delegation of Meaningful Work Builds Skills and Capabilities
Delegating meaningful work (again, not the merely mundane, rote tasks or regular assignments your team members are expected to carry out) to your team members creates opportunities for them to experience and gain skills in key areas of the business. Opportunities to grow and stretch come from this type of delegation. Making mistakes is part of this, so be sure you have factored this into how and what you delegate. There is a tremendous amount of learning to be had from making mistakes!
Delegation Builds Confidence and Self Esteem
The delegation of important work, helps to build confidence in your team members. When they see you giving them the opportunity to run with important assignments normally reserved for you, they realize that you have confidence in their abilities. This is a major contributor to self esteem, and to growth and development.
Delegation Provides Real World Coaching and Mentoring Opportunities
The delegation of meaningful work, your normal work, provides leaders with the opportunity to mentor and coach team members as they are carrying out the delegated assignment. Often times, leaders have the best interests of their team members at heart and want to mentor, but lack the specific opportunity to do so. Picking the right delegation, offers this very specific opportunity, which makes all the difference in the world when it comes to the effectiveness of the mentoring and coaching.
The Prime Leadership Directive
For me, as leaders, the most important thing we do, is to develop and build capabilities in our people. These capabilities are best built when your team members are stretching and growing as you provide assignments and tasks with ever increasing levels of complexity. I believe that delegation provides the perfect opportunity to do just that.
I’d love to hear about your experiences both in delegating meaningful work, and being delegated to. Did you experience and/or see growth as a result? Was it effective? Share with us. We can all grow together.