A previous bulletin described what I perceive is THE most critical mistake that leaders make—not providing enough quality feedback to their team members.
This bulletin discusses what I perceive is the second most critical mistake leaders make—and what you can do about it…
It’s foolhardy really. Every leader I’ve ever met absolutely knows that they need to delegate effectively, yet lots of you either don’t delegate nearly enough, or delegate poorly.
And, oh boy, the costs to you, to your team members and to your organisation is huge!
It’s probably as simple as this: If you’re a leader and you’re not doing a good job of delegating, you’re not doing your job!
Three Types of Delegators
In my experience there are two types of leaders who are making a delegation faux pas—and one type who can truly pat themselves on the back.
To keep it uncomplicated, we’ll call them the “hang-on-to-it” delegator, the “hope-for-the-best” delegator and the “best-practice” delegator. Let’s do a speedy investigation of each…
1. The “hang-on-to-it” delegator
Typically, hang-on-to-it delegators have moved into a leadership role as a result of their fabulous technical expertise.
And, typically again, they frequently have trouble delegating because of their belief that says “No one can do this as well as I can”.
They end up handling way too many operational issues themselves…and then they struggle to find time to attend to the really important leadership matters—such as seeing the big picture, planning and strategising, and giving their team members enough feedback.
Now, I can hear some of you saying, “I don’t have anyone, or anyone who’s good enough, to delegate to.” That may be true—at the moment. My suggestion here is that you slowly-but-surely, work on creating your ideal team. This may require you to be very persuasive!
2. The “hope-for-the-best” delegator
Hope-for-the-best delegators are clear that they need to delegate, and they give it a good go. But there’s an omission they make that costs them plenty.
The hope-for-the-best delegator doesn’t align their expectations with the expectations of the person to whom they’re delegating. They don’t talk specifics—and so, when the results come in, they often don’t get what they’d hoped for.
Sometimes, the upshot of that is, the hope-for-the-best delegator gets “burned” by their delegation experience. Consequently they become either reluctant to delegate further, or end up micro-managing what they delegate—neither of which results in useful outcomes.
3. The “best-practice” delegator
These leaders have a mindset that says “What can’t I delegate?”—rather than “What can I delegate?”
Best-practice delegators delegate pretty much everything that’s related to the operational or the tactical. An item has to be pretty special to stay on their plate.
(If you’re in this category, congratulations! We absolutely need more of you in the leadership realms).
Just how does the best-practice delegator manage to delegate pretty much everything but the operational or tactical?
I notice that they consistently demonstrate three key characteristics:
- Their attitudinal state is to “delegate as-a-first-resort” rather than as-a-last-resort.
- They delegate with crystal clear outcomes and highly aligned expectations about what a good end-result will look like.
And they agree review points, time frames, authority and resources at the outset too.
- They’re brilliant at getting “the right people on the bus”.
Their leadership demeanour (which, by the way, often consists of learned behaviours) has them attracting and assembling a go-make-it-happen team. They either recruit or develop people that they can confidently delegate to.
Hmmm, I wonder, who wouldn’t want to work with a leader like this—one who gives me, the team member, challenging and therefore fulfilling responsibilities and accountabilities, and fabulous growth and development opportunities too?
Your Leadership Call to Action
If you’re a best-practice delegator (and I know a number of bulletin readers who are), well done! We need you to keep modeling great delegation and true leadership! You not only undoubtedly have an edge when it comes to results; you’re also truly supporting your team members and your organisation.
Unless you’re a best-practice delegator, I propose that you ask yourself these three questions…
- Am I more of a hang-on-to-it or more of a hope-for-the-best delegator?
If you think you’re another beast again, please let me know, I’d love to hear about it.
- What do I need to do to migrate to being best-practice? …
By doing this you’d move closer to being an exemplary leader who develops an exceptional team that produces outstanding results.
- Am I prepared to ask each of my team members “Where do you think I could either delegate more, or be more hands off?”…
If you’re not best-practice with your delegation, and you want to realise the benefits of becoming a master delegator, give me a shout. You’ll notice that it’ll be-the-difference-that-makes-the-difference when it comes to you doing a remarkable job as a leader!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.