The Elusive Leadership Skill You’re Not Using

Understanding Delegation

No leader, you included, sets out to sabotage their leadership efforts. Your lack of appropriate delegation, however, is doing just.

Let’s start with something foundational – What is delegation?

According to the Foresight Management Development Company: Delegation is the process of giving decision-making authority to a lower-level employee (the delegate).

Let’s use that as our starting point also to understand what delegation isn’t:

First, Delegation is not dumping. Dumping is what happens when you pass off the tasks you don’t want to do and don’t give them the tools or authority they need to get it done.

Second, delegation is not deferring. Deferring is what you do when you point a task or activity to the appropriate person. In other words, you make sure the right person is getting tasked with the proper work before it ever comes to you.

I can’t know why you aren’t delegating, but I can tell you that if any of these are happening to you, then you likely aren’t delegating as you should:

1. You’re always working too many hours. You’re coming in early, leaving late, taking work home, and working through lunch breaks are just some of the ways you know you aren’t delegating appropriately.

2. You can’t get your work done. You’re consistently missing deadlines, overwhelmed with new assignments, and find that you are the bottleneck for everything that happens.

3. You’re passed over for promotions. Senior leadership doesn’t see your potential to lead because you’re always covered up in work someone else should be doing.

4. Your team isn’t loyal to you. Your lack of trust in them to accept some of the workloads you carry is reciprocated by their lack of commitment to you as their leader.

5. You’re getting poor performance reviews. Your role as a manager is to get work done through your team. Yes, you’re responsible, but they are on the team to get it done. You don’t look like a star performer when assignments are dying on your desk because you aren’t sharing the load.

Why should you delegate? Some benefits of delegating are:

1. Delegating turns followers into leaders. Giving your team the chance to make decisions and guide the process of achieving a goal builds in them the decision-making skills and leadership experience they need to grow.

2. Delegating gives you the opportunity to use the strengths of your team. Delegating a task to a team member who is strong in that area means a higher quality solution.

3. Delegating boosts morale. When your people know you trust them not only to do a job but also to make decisions about how the job gets done, your staff will have more organizational commitment, loyalty to you as their leader, and improved job satisfaction that converts into higher morale and greater customer satisfaction.

Delegation is one of the most critical skills any leader or manager has in their repertoire. When you consider that the workers already have a better understanding of their operations and more information about the work they do than you, it makes sense to give them the authority and resources they need to get it done.


Question: What does delegation look like in your life? You can leave a comment by clicking here.

I am an author, speaker, and leader with a passion for developing people into practical leaders who put their principles into practice. I am the co-author of the acclaimed book Faith Acts with best-selling author Dillon Burroughs, the Chief Operations Officer at the Chattanooga Community Kitchen, and an independent leadership consultant to up and coming leaders and start up nonprofit organizations. My greatest joy, however, is serving Christ and his Church. I am the proud husband of Shay and father of two great boys. We live in Chattanooga, TN. #NoogaStrong

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, off-topic, or downright annoying.

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