Do You Dare to Delegate?
During a webinar I conducted recently, several participants admitted that they are unwilling to delegate, for a number of reasons, including, “I don’t want to dump more work on other people” and “I don’t want anyone to think I can’t hold my own.” However, “Nobody can do it as well as I can, so it’s better if I do it myself.” was the most common ‘excuse’. That’s most likely true. In addition, it’s likely that if you are a leader, you will have a difficult time finding someone who is fully qualified to execute a particular responsibility. Please consider this: when you delegate, you send some very strong signals. In effect, you are saying,
“I believe in you. I trust you. I have confidence in you. Even if you are concerned, worried, or scared, I’m confident that you are up to the task. You have so much potential, and this is a great opportunity to pursue it.”
Here’s the cool part; not only do you send that message to the team member, you send it to the team (regardless of size), to your subordinates, and to your superiors. What’s more, someone on your team may be ‘flying under the radar’, needing an opportunity to show what they can do, like the substitute on the bench who needs a chance to shine like a star. There’s a wrinkle. Sometimes, you have no choice; you MUST fill a position. What if you aren’t 100% sure that you’re making the right decision? What if you think you MIGHT be making a mistake…but? You’re not alone.
My Lithuanian ‘daughter’ Greta (with me above) found herself in exactly that position recently. With her permission, I’ll share her experience with this tricky problem. She writes,
“Would you give a very important role to a junior person who has only been with your organization for a month? I did. And I was sure I was making a mistake. I had the choice to add this role to an already swamped senior person or assign it to an inexperienced newcomer…a ‘newbie.’ None of the newbies seemed to be 100% ready. But I needed to fill that position…yesterday. So, I made a decision to give it to a newbie. I was expecting a very long transition, hours of checking and explaining, and lots of errors and confusion. The only confusion was in my head, when another department started raving about the newbie after only 2 weeks! He is detailed-oriented and communicates very well – exactly what we needed! If you’re reading this, please
✔believe in your people.
✔give them a chance to show what they can do.
✔inspire each other to do more and be more.”
As a leader, there’s one more thing to consider. Reflect on YOUR career path. Was there a time when someone placed their faith in YOU, and presented you with an opportunity to grow? Did a superior give you responsibilities that at first you yourself doubted you could fulfill? Did someone inspire confidence in by giving you room to fail, to learn, and to succeed? The path may not have been the easiest, but chances are, you are the better for it.
The next time you are considering delegating responsibility, or assigning a difficult task to a ‘newbie’, take this into consideration, and answer the question. Do you DARE to delegate?
Think about your experience with a manager who was either unwilling to delegate, or who ALWAYS micro-managed, gave extra assignments and demanded that you work overtime (think Bill Lumbergh in the film ‘OFFICE SPACE’). Recall stories that come to mind, and take note of all the lessons that you learned from all these experiences. Also consider how many different points of wisdom you can share from these experiences. There is a wealth of stories from your career. Tell them…if you DARE!
Dream Big; Work BIGGER!