Nobody can do everything all by themselves. One of the key skills of any great leader is having the ability to know when to pass your work onto someone else who can get it done, which is, of course, called delegating. Any manager who can’t delegate effectively is going to struggle to get their own work done as well as affecting team morale and risking their own health through burn-out.
More than 85% of managers admit that they should delegate more but are held back by a variety of reasons. They include feelings of guilt, bad habits or having a lack of trust in their staff. However, the benefits of delegation are clear, with CEOs who delegate have been found to generate 33% more revenue than those who don’t, while studies show that managers can delegate up to 20% of their work without any decline in productivity.
Not delegating can make you feel more in control, but the negative effects are obvious. With too much on your plate, you can suffer from exhaustion, decision fatigue, and timekeeping issues, while your team isn’t given the chance to develop their skills and end up feeling like they aren’t trusted, which leads to disengagement and lower productivity all around.
The good news is that if you struggle to delegate to your staff, there are ways you can get better at it. One easy way to do it that also encourages you to be more open and trusting with your staff is to make yourself accountable to them when it comes to delegation. Making a commitment to your staff and peers about how often you will delegate work is important because doing something public like this increases the likelihood of completing a goal by 65%.
Once you have made a public declaration that will you be delegating more often, the next step will be to make sure it becomes part of your work processes every day. This will take some practice but every time you are planning a new task, ask yourself whether it really needs to be you performing it. Is there someone who can do it just as well, or perhaps even better, and could you be doing something more significant with your time?
If the answer to the first question is causing you anxiety, maybe that’s a larger issue with how much you trust your team. Delegation can only work if you do, so arranging training to fill any skills gaps will make it much easier for you as well as benefiting the staff individually and as a team. With only 22% of employees satisfied with their company’s efforts in training and development, this will solve more problems than just your delegation.
Another way to boost your team’s engagement with this process is to make sure you are receiving feedback from them on how they are finding it, as you certainly don’t want to give the impression that you are overloading them with your work for the wrong reasons. Another important step to take before you delegate is to prioritize your workload and be clear about which jobs can be assigned to which people, focusing on their strengths rather than just giving them to whoever is available.
Delegation isn’t always a natural action for a leader, who may instinctively want to protect their staff and shoulder the burden for themselves, but the statistics show what a benefit it can be for everyone concerned. Just because you’re in charge, it doesn’t mean you need to risk your health or the productivity of your team, so why not start to follow these tips and see just how much more you can achieve by not trying to do it all yourself.
About the author: John Cole is a digital nomad and freelance writer. Specializing in leadership, digital media and personal growth, his passions include world cinema and biscuits. A native Englishman, he is always on the move, but can most commonly be spotted in Norway, the UK, and the Balkans.