Delegation is one of the greatest skills an effective leader can learn. It can prevent burn out, it allows for fresh solutions to ongoing issues, it helps your team feel trusted and valued, and it empowers those around you. So why does it feel so risky?
Many leaders, have a real resistance toward delegation, and there are often many different reasons. If you find yourself feeling the need to do everything yourself, the first step is to identify why.
The work will not get done well.
This is a common fear of leaders who resist delegating. The idea is that you know best how to do certain tasks, and it is quicker and easier to just do it yourself than take the time to train and troubleshoot with a team member. Yet, as your own workload increases, you may find that taking that time in the beginning will reap dividends of being able to focus on greater tasks later.
I feel bossy when I delegate.
It's important to be direct and assertive as a leader, but no one want to feel as though they are dumping their own work on others. To avoid this, remember that you have built a team who is dedicated to the success of the business. Be clear in your instructions, respond promptly when your staff has questions, and listen if a team member indicates that they may not have the bandwidth to take on another project at any given time. All of this will ensure that your team will gladly help when they can and not feel pushed around.
I think delegating will make it look like I don't have a handle on things.
We all want to be perceived as put together and on top of things - especially in a leadership role. However, not delegating before things actually do get out of hand leads to stress, tasks left incompleted, and a lack of productivity. So ask yourself: Is it better to be perceived as overwhelmed or to actually be overwhelmed?? Chances are, your team won't think twice about you needing to get a few things off of your plate anyway.
When applied skillfully, delegation is one of the most powerful techniques in a leader's tool belt. So, don't be afraid of it. Learn to delegate effectively. You don't have to do it all yourself!