As a star performer, you have just been promoted to a managerial role and might be feeling tempted to continue to follow your usual routine of doing excellent work, while also trying to motivate the team to get results.   You start to notice that you have a pervasive feeling of being buried with assignments and keeping up feels like your biggest challenge.  The best skill you can foster to address this challenge is to learn how to be a master delegator.

Surprisingly, most managers do not delegate.  A 2007 study on time management found that close to half of the 332 companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ delegation skills. At the same time, only 28% of those companies offered any training on the topic.  It is also quite possible that as a high achiever, you may not even be aware that you are unnecessarily hoarding work; after all, you are used to handling everything and getting results. 

A great way to learn if you are under-delegating is to keep a journal on how you are spending your time and look for patterns of low energy activities.   The most glaring sign that you may be insufficiently delegating is if you are always working long hours and having the feeling of being indispensable.

Top 3 Reasons To Delegate:

1. Maximize your contribution.  There are jobs that only you can do in your senior role so when you can spend more time doing just that and less time on work that can be done by others, you are advancing yourself and your company. Richard Branson said, “managers should delegate so they can put themselves out of business for that job and be free to think bigger.”  Proper delegation allows you to multiply your output and increase your high-value work.

2. Develop your people.  One of the most rewarding and important parts of your job as a manager is to grow your people.  A great way to do this is to motivate them to take ownership of the task, give them autonomy to experiment, learn from their mistakes, and have chances to flourish.  It is advantageous to give the entire job and support them in the process so they can experience control and success. Brian Tracy says that the average person works about 50-60% of their capacity, but the best managers know how to tap into their team’s potential to yield as high as 90 -100%.  Through effective delegation, managers can elicit the highest quality performance and build capabilities and confidence in their team.

3. Grow Your Abilities.  Effective delegation requires you to be a tremendous teacher, communicator, listener, and more.Jeffrey Pfeffer, Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford said, “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.”  The more you can achieve outcomes through others, the more you are able to rise in your leadership journey and take on even more challenges and opportunities in your organization.  Indeed, great leadership involves putting in place a successful system that supersedes your influence.

Quote of the day: “Deciding what not to do is as important as deciding what to do.” – Jessica Jackley, Co-Founder of Kiva

Q:  What was the last thing you decided to delegate so you could have more time to do something else that was even more important to you? Comment and share your thoughts with us; we would love to hear from you!

How do you delegate?