Why You Need To Delegate To Be Effective

Pamela McClinton

01 February 2015

Ask any manager and they will tell with you that delegating tasks and responsibilities is vital to your success as a leader.

For most high-performing employees, however, it’s not that easy. Most high-performers are driven by performance. They have honed their skills, know exactly what they want, how they want it, and honestly, it’s just easier to do it themselves. Delegation becomes a time-consuming chore, when you consider the time it takes to train or explain how you would like a job done.

And who has time these days?

Well, the majority of leaders have been in your shoes, with little time and what seems to be a never-ending to-do list.

But did you know that practicing delegation can truly improve your productivity?

After spending a few years in technology, I often encountered the following scenario: A new employee comes aboard the team. I walk them through the daily routine and share the responsibilities and tasks they need to perform. After a while, I begin to notice that most of the new analysts attempt only the basic day-to-day tasks. The challenging tasks were left to me. To save time, I often would handle the tasks myself. At first, I considered it a skill issue, but I couldn’t help but ask:

Why weren’t they developing? After the challenge became frustration, I became more intrigued by their lack of development. To top it off, I consistently received more responsibilities and projects and my time to take up the slack was dwindling. I sat down with one employee and inquired why didn’t he handle some of the more difficult tasks that came our way?

“I haven’t worked on issues like these before,” he shared honestly, “and I don’t want to mess anything up, so I just feel more comfortable escalating it to you.”

Problem revealed. Taking the time to train and delegate a task was my responsibility as the leader of the group.

Over the next few months, I worked painstakingly to develop thorough technical documentation that walked my team through scenarios on how to solve basic, mid-level and difficult tasks. I made the documentation simple and took the time to train each team member how to resolve the problems and even how to train new analysts the same way I had trained them. Over the next three years, not only did taking the time to train, explain, and delegate these tasks make our team more productive, but it empowered my team members to attempt to resolve issues I had not previously covered. Delegating to them boosted their confidence!

Associate Professor Leyland Lucas from Morgan State University writes that sharing information within teams is important to creating a collaborative culture. When knowledge transfer occurs, employees often feel a sense of ownership for the tasks and responsibilities assigned to them.

So, while it may be easier to “do-it-yourself,” raising the bar on your leadership involves making sure your team is fully equipped to handle their day-to-day responsibilities. Delegating tasks helps improve the skills of your team members and creates an overall collaborative culture that shares knowledge and prevents information silos.

Now it’s your turn:

How can you raise the bar on your leadership by delegating to your team?

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Pamela McClinton

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