How the Most Effective Leaders Delegate

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How can you delegate to become a more effective leader?

Start by accepting that you can, and must, delegate. You cannot do everything yourself; nor should you. Isn’t this a risk? Of course it is, but doing everything yourself can be an even greater risk because you’re not tapping your team’s expertise. You are also sending the message that at best, you don’t trust your team to get those tasks done correctly. More likely you are telling them you don’t trust their abilities. That’s an even greater risk because your team will stop trying.

So, how does an effective leader delegate?

The first step is to admit that you must share the load. Decide what you can task team members with and what you should reserve for yourself. I recommend you just reserve those tasks which only you can do, such as setting the course for the team and perhaps some final decisions.

If you are uncomfortable delegating, this next step is as much for you as for your team. Pick small, non-critical tasks and assign them to team members in whom you have trust and confidence. Be clear about what needs to be done, any requirements or limitations, and when the task must be completed. Do not tell them how to accomplish the task. Remember, it’s the results that are important. This step will help you get a feel for what the team can do, but it also will help you begin to get over your own hesitancy to delegate.

As you become more comfortable with your team’s skills and your own ability to let go, you can delegate more involved tasks.

Now for the hardest part – don’t hover. That’s not to say feedback and follow-up aren’t important, but any course corrections you provide must be restricted to ensuring team members stay on the right course, not telling them how to do the task. Let your team members do the task in a way that works best for them. Chances are good they will devise a better solution than you would have.

When a delegated task is completed, take a moment to recognize the achievement. This doesn’t mean you must throw a big party, make the recognition fit the accomplishment, but do take the opportunity to let your team know you appreciate their efforts and expertise.

When you become more comfortable delegating, you will develop a truly high-performance team.

To see short videos of this and other tips, go to https://www.youtube.com/user/RLMBobMason

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