Delegation: The Secret to Letting Go

Making the paradigm shift in leadership development means training your supervisors and managers to let go — to delegate, that is. Delegation is about leaders empowering others and inspiring trust. It involves the effective assignment of tasks to other staff members while still maintaining responsibility for the results. All the while, supervisors and managers are considering each individual’s skill level and challenging him or her to complete the assignment.

Everyone knows that change is constant and the ability to deliver on results is of utmost importance in the organization. However, one of the most difficult challenges supervisors and managers face is in understanding their own inability to delegate tasks and projects. They mistakenly hold on to the idea that no one else can do the job as well as they can. This line of thinking ultimately becomes counterproductive.

Delegation is one way to produce results and at the same time develop employee skills.

Many leaders believe that they do delegate well and often. Before you jump to this assumption, think about it. It takes training and a true understanding of the benefits delegating can offer before most supervisors and managers actually let go. Often when leaders delegate they fail for several reasons: lack of planning, taking back the project or task because it appears easier to do it themselves, or concluding that they don’t have time to delegate.

If you are one of those people, or you hear your management staff say, “There just isn’t anyone I can delegate to,” then you have to understand that you’re just not that into delegation. And you’re just not letting go. If this sounds like you, then perhaps its time to change your game plan.

Here are eight tips to delegating effectively and letting go:

  • Decide what to delegate and what only YOU can do
  • Communicate a clear vision of the desired end result
  • Delegate the right tasks to the right people
  • Explain tasks and expectations thoroughly
  • Check for clarity and understanding
  • Be available to provide consistent feedback and assess progress
  • Hold people accountable to the agreed upon results
  • Recognize efforts and reward successes
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