When a leader delegates responsibility to others, it is more than just taking something off of his or her plate.
It’s an opportunity to grow someone in a remarkable way.
Delegation is a vital part of being a productive leader – and organization. If you’re not careful, you can run the risk of unproductive delegation – the kind that gets a task done but makes little long-term impact.
When delegating, seek intermediate and long-term benefits in addition to short-term gains. Here are some benefits to consider and strive for in your delegation process:
Train and Develop. A leader who is others-aware is always looking for opportunities to build his or her team’s individual skills. Identify each person’s needs and pair what needs to be done with what they need to grow.
Build Weaknesses as well as Strengths. Delegated tasks can help someone take a strength and stretch it further. But some of the best growth comes when you give someone responsibility for an area or skill set that needs further development. If you don’t work on your leg strength, you can never be a good cyclist. If you hesitate to work on people’s opportunity areas, they will never build those skills up and they may never be well-rounded leaders at some point.
Stack Tasks and Projects to Run Towards the Goals. Sometimes you delegate to give a task or project away only to have the person come back for more. And then the process repeats. Think about a project’s life cycle and identify all the potential opportunities to build momentum and consistency (and synergy) between the project and the people involved. By stacking a number of items along a chain of goals, you will allow someone to see and entire event through, one they may be proud to call their pet project, and possibly a resume builder for their next promotion within your company.
Keep Delegating Along Core Values. What better way to align core values than to ensure that every task done is set up to maintain and promote them? When you delegate, make sure you use this touch point to drill down your values and keep people understanding and seeing the “Why” of what your organization lives for.
Build Connection to Engage Your Team. A great way to help your people to network and build your internal team is to give them projects that rely on interaction with other key departments and individuals. These connections help support culture, develop team building and interaction skills, and break down walls and silos that may exist within the company. You can thread people together through this process and develop some solid inter-departmental teams as a result.
Give an Opportunity to Further Your Culture. When a task is completed, it meets goals, aligns values, grows the business, makes profits, expands influence, and can create buzz (“We have the best employees!”). Find a cause to celebrate your people and culture, and keep your culture in the forefront of every delegation opportunity.
While delegation is a great opportunity to free yourself to think, plan, and build, there are many other benefits as well. Good leadership is about delegation; great leadership is about building by delegating.
More From Paul LaRue
Paul LaRue is the creator of The UPwards Leader and Instigator for Lead Change Group. His background in senior leadership,. strategic planning, culture change, and people and organizational development gives him unique insight into the workings of successful organizations. Paul has given speeches and training sessions for many public and private entities and stresses the virtue of a culture that centers around core values and character in leadership.