“If you delegate tasks, you will raise up doers. If you delegate authority, you will raise up leaders” – Craig Groeschel
As entrepreneurs and managers, it’s all too easy to fall into the mantra of ‘if you want it done well, do it yourself’. But being able to delegate effectively is key to the growth and success of your business. So why do we find it so hard, and why is it so important?
Ultimately, the reason delegation is important as a leader is that part of your aim in leading people should be to build a team of people with the conviction, commitment and competence to carry out tasks as well as, if not better than, you can.
Many people in leadership positions struggle with delegation for a number of reasons. Maybe you are reluctant to delegate because you think that you can do the task faster and better than anyone else in your team.
But how will you know if you don’t give them a chance to prove themselves?
And how will they learn and improve if you don’t assign them tasks that they find challenging?
Another common fear among leaders is that if you train your staff to work at the same level as you, they might supersede you, and you could become dispensable. But teaching generously is a quality of an excellent leader.
As well as boosting your staff’s skills and employability, you improve your skills as a teacher, and you may even find that if you train up possible replacements for your role, your time is freed up to pursue bigger things, such as new business opportunities or a promotion.
Try not to think of delegation in terms of your staff being an issue, but rather think about how it can benefit both you and them as a team.
For you, effective delegation will free up your time so that your working day isn’t taken up with minor tasks, so that you can focus on your broader responsibilities and the bigger picture. It also gives you more time for self-development.
Equally, effective delegation continuously challenges your staff, giving them the opportunity and motivation to learn and develop. Thus, delegation will improve not only your staff’s skill set and productivity levels, but also your effectiveness as a leader.
In terms of your team as a whole, delegation can improve teamwork and flexibility – if more members of your team are able to take on a wider variety of tasks, it will be much easier for you to reallocate the workload fairly across the team, for example if a member of staff is off on holiday or sick leave. This also allows your staff to work with a wider variety of team members, which can increase team camaraderie and, in turn, productivity.
Effective delegation is also key to ensuring that your staff understand, and are on board with, the company’s objectives.
Clearly communicating tasks to your staff not only in terms of what is expected of them, but also why the particular task you are delegating to them is important, will show them that they are valued as a member of the team, improving their confidence and motivation, and also making sure that they are working towards the company’s common goals.
Another important reason for effective delegation is to avoid an unnecessarily high turnover of staff. If you don’t continue to challenge and motivate your staff, and allow them to learn and develop, they will soon lose interest in their work and in the business, and thus are unlikely to say with the company.
Get to know your team, and ensure that you use everyone’s talents to their utmost, which will keep them happy and motivated, as well as benefiting the productivity and profits of your company.
A benefit of delegating that you might not have considered is that it can be a good way to foster open communication within your team, which means that it allows your team members to bring new ideas and different approaches to the table.
An important leadership quality is to be adaptable to new ideas, and to consider suggestions and new perspectives on older ways of doing things. Delegating to capable team members can stop you falling into the rut of doing things a certain way simply because ‘that’s how we’ve always done it’.
Taking on board and implementing suggestions from your staff will make them feel more involved in the company. It will also encourage them, and the rest of the team, to continue thinking outside the box, which in turn means that your team will continuously adapt and improve.