How to delegate effectively

A good leader is an effective delegator. Leadership without delegation is no different than a line-out meeting where tasks are handed off to employees without the leader’s involvement.

According to this HBR article, “One of the most difficult transitions for leaders to make is the shift from doing to leading. As a new manager you can get away with holding on to work. Peers and bosses may even admire your willingness to keep “rolling up your sleeves” to execute tactical assignments. But as your responsibilities become more complex, the difference between an effective leader and a super-sized individual contributor with a leader’s title is painfully evident.”

While the benefits of delegation cannot be overemphasized, poor delegation drains energy from employees and makes them doubtful about their readiness for the next challenge. Instead of only delegating tasks when the leader is away, effective delegation starts with the leader being present to cheer the employee on and to provide coaching. Do not wait until the last day before your vacation to delegate tasks. Instead, use delegation as a training tool with you being present as the trainer.

If you would have your employee stand in for you at a monthly managers’ meeting, how about you invite them to a few sessions before you actually ask them to be on their own? By showing them what it is like to be in your shoes, you will give them the opportunity to observe the status quo and to develop their own style to communicate the same information. People perform at their best when they are themselves. It is challenging to make changes to a slide deck you have been asked to speak to for the first time. Don’t make delegation difficult for people by not showing them how to deliver beforehand.

Don’t just delegate, do it effectively! Can you share what you have found useful about delegation? If you could ask your manager for a grooming before delegation, what will be on your agenda?

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