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When someone is promoted into a leadership position they have to learn how to delegate authority. Because suddenly, there’s a heavier burden of responsibility.
There’s probably a bigger paycheck. But the most important thing you should experience when moving into a leadership position is a change of priorities.
From now on, your focus isn’t on doing things, or at least it’s not solely on it. Leaders can do, but it’s more important that leaders lead.
Since everyone has a limited amount of time at their disposal, that means one thing. You’ll have to learn how to delegate authority to accomplish tasks.
Why Is Delegating Authority Important?
When delegating authority to accomplish tasks, team leaders are doing more than just making sure they don’t have too much work on their own plate. Delegating authority is an important signal in the workplace, and it has practical benefits for all team members.
According to Peter Johnson, leaders who delegate authority show that they can trust their team members, “But it’s even more important than the team member feels that they are a valued and trusted member of the unit,” added Johnson. “That’s how you build their self-esteem and loyalty.”
A leader who can delegate also demonstrates that they are not encumbered by the usual petty reasons for avoiding delegating tasks.
You need to be able to let go, trust others, and value others’ contributions if you want to be a leader who isn’t afraid to delegate.
How to Start Delegating Authority
To make sure that the work is done properly and that doing the work benefits the team, it’s very important that you delegate tasks that play to each member’s strengths.
A good start for delegating tasks is creating an inventory of their stronger points.
You should also understand that there are some tasks that you cannot or should not ever delegate.
Do not delegate disciplinary actions, or give feedback, to someone else. Crisis management should always be your task. These are the opportunities to lead by doing.
You should delegate non-leadership tasks that are at or slightly above the skill level of your team members. You might even delegate a task that requires a completely new skill, as long as you’re willing to provide proper training and support.
You shouldn’t delegate tasks that would feel like punishment to the team members. If you are disciplining someone, do it in a way that leaves no doubt.
Communicate Well When Delegating
The success of the tasks will not hang only on the team member’s skills and judgment. It will also depend on how well you communicate when delegating the task.
It goes without saying that the team member must clearly understand what you want them to do.
But you should take it one step further and make sure that the team member understands the whole process, including reporting once the job is done, and the channels they can use to reach you.
There should be no doubt about the desired outcome of the task. Specify deliverables, performance indicators, or any other work product or data point you will use to determine the success of the task.
Help people know what you want, and they’ll have an easier time providing it for you.
Monitor Every Task You Delegate
There’s a difference between standing over someone’s shoulder and checking in occasionally. As a leader, you should understand it because you might need to do either on any given day.
Unless there’s a reason to put pressure on the team members that are performing delegated tasks, checking in occasionally will suffice.
Just how often you do it depends on the task, the team member, and plenty of other factors.
But remember that checking in doesn’t mean you don’t trust your team members.
The best part about being a great leader who delegates is that you get to give credits for every task that’s been successful. Praise often, and praise publicly.
If, on the other hand, team members didn’t perform well on the task you delegated to them, let them know about it. Just don’t do it in a way that will humiliate them. A great leader should always be gracious.
How Do You Delegate Authority?
If you have ideas about how to delegate authority that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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