As a leader, ineffective delegation eats away at your critical emotional, physical and time reserves. Effective delegation builds those reserves, giving you discretionary reserves to use in more productive ways.
Proactive delegation is being "professionally active" and assertive, rather than reactive and aggressive, in transferring authority, responsibility and accountability from one person or group to another. It is doing it collaboratively with mutual agreement.
Do you find yourself having a difficult time delegating within the standards of this "Proactive" definition? As a result of ineffective delegation, are you often overloading your brains and your body to a point of stress that creates dysfunction in your personal life as well as in your career environment?
My prediction is that you are in a leadership role because your personal style is to naturally take charge, get things moving, and get it done...yesterday. You may be the type of person who sees what needs to be done to achieve successful outcomes, who is impatient waiting on others, so jumps in to get it done themselves.
When leaders overuse or overextend their strengths, they tend to try to control things too much, try to do everything themselves rather than proactively delegate to others. In this case, their strengths often become liabilities and actually serve to block peak performance on the part of themselves and others in the organization. Often they loose the sense of control they so intensely desire and sacrifice quality and service by trying to keep it within their own grasp. This contributes to the reduction of their organization's effectiveness, efficiency and competitive edge. It also dulls their own career edge.
Even if your style is "take charge and do it," you can gain significant benefits from practicing and mastering proactive delegation as a responsive, leadership-enhancing strategy. You can gain some of the benefits I have seen leaders enjoy from learning how to skillfully and appropriately delegate authority, responsibility and accountability to others in their organizations. Review the proven benefits below and reflect on the ones that will make your personal and work life more rewarding.
Being a leader who effectively delegates will...
- Make your work as a leader easier and give you the discretionary time to envision and think how your enterprise can be enhanced.
- Increase individual and group productivity.
- Develop additional leadership and initiative within the people in the ranks.
- Provide you with more time to reflect, pray and bring into balance the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of your personal and professional life.
- Stimulate employee creativity.
- Create higher morale and motivation by your demonstration of trust and confidence in staff members' abilities.
- Stimulate staff member motivation and commitment to your organization's vision, values, mission and goals.
Follow these delegating tips and you will delegate more effectively.
RECOGNIZE YOUR LIMITS - Watch the "situational" limits of your own physical, mental and emotional capacity so that you take care of yourself and regularly avoid the "burn up, burn out and bail out" syndromes.
DETERMINE THE PURPOSE of the thing being delegated and its relevance to the vision, values, mission and goals of your enterprise.
CAREFULLY SELECT the projects and tasks to be delegated. Select those that others can do and do not call for the highest and best use of your skills and talents.
ACCURATELY SELECT PEOPLE - Delegate only to the person or persons who have the demonstrated “can do” competencies and demonstrated “will do” motivation to successfully complete the assignment.
MEET WITH THE PERSON OR GROUP selected to do the task or project and explain all instructions and requirements. Check out the “can do”, “will do” and other important factors relevant to the assignment.
DILIGENTLY AVOID THREE COMMON "ATTITUDE TRAPS" - They are used to rationalize or tell yourself some very “rational lies.” Armed with these rationalizations, you will fail to delegate even when you know the benefits! Check each rationalization to see if you are your own worst productivity enemy. "The job will not be done the way I would do it or as well.” “My subordinates lack the necessary training to perform the job, and I don't have the time or budget to coach or train them.” “I enjoy doing the work, and therefore do not want to delegate because others won't be as motivated as I am.”
DILIGENTLY REFLECT ON WHAT YOU DO AT WORK and determine if you are using work tasks to escape from competently carrying out the executive, leadership and managerial level responsibilities that are yours. You might also ask yourself if you are neglecting personal needs, family relationships and other areas of your life that deserve a significant priority for your time and person.
COMMIT OPENLY TO ACTIVELY USE PROACTIVE DELEGATION - Get one or more of your colleagues and family members to help you figure out appropriate ways to do it. Get them to give you direct feedback on how you are doing and how it impacts their motivation and performance.
Please… keep a smile on your face and relax a little more as you engage in the delegation process. You’ll learn to enjoy it and the benefits you derive from it!
If you need help in mastering and implementing any of the skills and tactics mentioned, I'm here for you! Please visit the Call-A-Coach section of my web site for more information.