Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more than 24 hours in a day? Unfortunately, we can only work with what were given, and that means leaders have to approach their company’s workload in a thoughtful fashion. One of the most effective ways to expand your time is to delegate.
Delegation is a really important tool good leaders have. It requires the cooperation, transparency, and skills of every team member. Whether the company is a Fortune 500 corporation or an eager startup, not much progress will be made if the boss doesn’t know how to let go some of his or her responsibilities and assign it to the right people.
A few months ago, I spoke with a good friend named Andrew who continued to feel like he was drowning at work. Andrew is the CEO of a sporting goods chain and every day, he would go to work with an overwhelmingly long to-do list. He said he didn’t have enough time to think let alone eat lunch. I asked him why doesn’t he delegate some of his duties to his team and he said he wanted to, but struggled with letting go of all that responsibility and worried if the work would be done right.
I wanted to help Andrew learn how to delegate. The next day, Andrew and I sat down together, and I explained to him the best tools that enable effective delegation for leaders. These are five most important elements of an effective delegation plan.
Pick the right people. It is the leader’s responsibility to analyze his or her teammates and determine who is most appropriate for which task. Everyone has a certain set of skills and you should utilize your employee’s strengths to get the job done right. If a leader fails to do this, people will feel either underutilized or out of their element and the project will suffer for this choice.
Communicate clearly. In my new book Why Are There Snowblowers In Maimi?, I express the vital importance of communication throughout the company. When a leader delegates work and responsibilities to his or her employees, clear, open communication is required for successful execution. It’s vital that everyone knows the details of the project. Which departments are involved? What are the deadlines? What is the end product? Communication is the best way to have engaged employees and a team that is willing to take on big projects and have successful results.
Explain outcomes. Employees like to know how their work contributes to the overall outcome. I was once advising the leadership team of a software company, and after speaking with several members of their team including engineers and designers, I noticed that the “big picture” was very skewed. Many employees felt like there was a big veil over what they were working towards. Yes, they knew the type of software they were creating, but when they were given new projects, there was no rationale for it – they just showed up. Of course, while in certain cases there may be confidentiality issues to consider, employees want to know how they are making a difference.
Encourage innovation. Every single person has a different take on their work. Sometimes the “textbook” solution isn’t always the most efficient or effective answer. Leaders should challenge their employees to find new and better ways to get the job done. By promoting free and creative problem-solving in the delegation process, the business will benefit by empowered employees and groundbreaking results.
Empower and Reward. One of a leader’s central responsibilities is the well-being and satisfaction of his or her employees. Members of your team should be empowered with encouragement and praise. More responsibilities should also mean more rewards or compensation. However, you must also manage everything that comes with it, which may mean a bonus or pay raise.
I have met many C-Level leaders and business owners like Andrew who find themselves in a rut. In fact, many of them would rather stay overwhelmed than work alongside employees and delegate the work because it’s just easier to do it themselves. Yet after using the five steps in a new delegation plan, Andrew found that he could breathe again and his employees were more engaged as a whole. When executed correctly, delegation can significantly help leaders personally and professionally improve their performance and business results.