Feb 23rd, 2023

Best Practices

Let New Leaders Emerge

  Written by: Shane Oswald, Director of Delivery

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“It will be easier/faster/better (insert appropriate comparative here), if I just do it myself.” This is a common response when someone is faced with task delegation for the first time. I can appreciate the sentiment and all the concerns that go into this kind of thinking. I am guilty of having that same mindset at times. Thoughts like, “How could someone else possibly do this task? It’s going to take forever to teach someone else how to do this. What if they make a mistake?” seem like valid concerns at first, but none are true obstacles. Successful delegation is not always easy, but there are numerous benefits and opportunities for personal growth for everyone involved.

Delegation requires commitment from both parties. Each person needs to have the proper mentality to achieve a positive outcome. The delegator must have the courage to let go and empower someone else. They need to trust that the tasks will be accomplished and accept that they may be completed in a new or different manner. They need to be comfortable with the possibility that mistakes (and learnings) will be made along the way.

The appointee must have the initiative to confront a new challenge and take accountability for seeing it through to completion. They need to have the courage to try, and possibly fail. They need to recognize when assistance is required and not be afraid to ask for help. If this is the attitude adopted by both parties, it can only lead to positive results.

In my personal experience, there are a handful of activities that can help ensure that delegated tasks get accomplished. First, set expectations. Objectives and deadlines must be clearly and accurately communicated. Second, provide instructions where they are needed. Some knowledge transfer and/or training may be required. Be available to answer questions as they arise. Lastly, and this is an important one, get out of the way. Let the work happen. Once it has been completed, check and validate the results.

At first glance, the main benefit of delegating is freeing up capacity for the delegator. However, delegation is also a growth opportunity for the person who is being appointed. Test it out and see what results may come. My guess is that all your initial concerns and perceived obstacles will quickly dissipate, and new leaders will emerge.