It’s the end of Term 1. I hear a sigh of relief. Bring on the chocolate. How do you feel? Has the term gone smoothly? 

I want to discuss delegation. Are you cringing already?. If you are a leader this is something you must do and get comfortable with doing.

It is too easy to think that the only person to get something done and done well is to do it yourself. Sure the task will get done but at the expense of what? If you are travelling a lone journey towards your team’s vision, it is not your team’s vision at all. It is just yours.  You cannot share the success with anyone. You have not united your team and built strong collegiate relationships. Nor have you developed and empowered your team members to take on new challenges and learn new skills. Oh and what’s more there has definitely been no delegation! But there has been lots of control. So that’s a good thing, right? Wrong! Time to re-group.

Delegating tasks is distributing the challenges across the team. Look around at your team members. What are they good at? What are their strengths? What areas could be best developed further? What are their aspirations and how can you help their learning? Delegating is not merely off-loading tasks. If you know what your team members are wanting, and you know what you want for them, delegating becomes a matching process. You match the skills in the task to the strengths evident or to the development needs of your team members.  The important thing after that is that you STEP AWAY and let them get on with it. You can hover, but please not too close or frequently. Allow your staff to come back to you at either an agreed date/time or have a check-in open-door type relationship. Importantly, allow them to come to you.  If things get left too long for your level of comfort and you want to have an update, let them know and set a time to meet. No-one likes the leader that rolls up and demands the update on the spot.

Through delegating tasks, you develop skills and leadership in others. Through sharing your vision and helping your team to see the benefits of the direction you are taking, they will be more likely and be more willing to join you on the journey. Giving them tasks to get involved and through encouraging them to come up with suggestions and ideas to help achieve the vision, and allowing them to carry out these actions, empowers them to be a part of the direction and to take ownership of the results. Now there is excitement across the group and together you can share in the challenges, difficulties and successes that you make together. Sure you have less direct control but in the long term, you are developing a stronger, more capable team that is moving forward together. The time you gain through delegating to others you can use to encourage your team, recognize their successes, even meet with your colleagues in other areas of the organization to learn what they are doing and to plan the next steps towards achieving your vision.  You are not an island! Remember to bring your team along with you on the journey and enjoy it together.

Written by Janine Stratford, Executive Coach and Founder of Coaching Focus.