Healthy Habits of a Healthy Leader: DelegationAn important skill to develop in life, regardless of your position, is the skill of leadership.  Whether you are a parent, a business owner, a teacher, a counselor, a ministry leader, etc., the benefits of developing leadership skills are necessary for helping improve your life and relationships.  You are someone’s role model and even if you lead no one other than yourself, you must lead your own life.  This article is written to help you focus on how to be an effective and competent leader by developing the skill of delegation.

One cause of burnout can be the result of trying to do too much yourself.  Burnout occurs at the point where you reach full exhaustion, which makes you incapable of doing anything productive.  One thing that many people do in leadership positions that contributes to burnout is falling into the trap of micromanaging.  Micromanaging harms everyone, particularly the relationships between leader and subordinate; this ultimately effects the entire organization or group.  Micromanaging leads to burnout.

You can avoid micromanaging pitfalls by mastering the art of delegation.  Delegation is one of the most important management skills a leader can develop; the benefits are huge for all involved.  Fastidiousness may be important in some regards, but do not overdo it by allowing it to impede your progress.  Do not treat other people like robots or servants.  Even if you are the boss, resist the temptation to swoop in like Superman and take on all the tasks yourself.  Instead, master the art of delegation with trust.  Avoid the need to micromanage; step away in good faith and trust that the job will be done.

Here are some guidelines for developing the art of delegation:

  • Create a culture of delegation. According to Stephen R. Covey, in his book Principle Centered Leadership, most people won’t take the time to explain, to train to commit.  Lay the foundation for effective delegation.
  • Create a culture of mutual trust. To delegate effectively there has to be a high level of trust and trustworthiness in the organization.  According to Covey, nothing engages someone like being trusted.
  • Delegate results not activities. When all you delegate is activities, buy-in is less likely.  Covey states that Stewardship Delegation is the most powerful and effective form of delegation.  Delegate the results you want and let the employees work within the guidelines you provide to achieve the results.
  • Use managerial time more effectively. Managers and supervisors are often over-worked. Many managers are expected to manage and lead their staff in ADDITION to carrying out non-managerial or other regular job related functions. The result is overwork. Managers become swamped and overwhelmed. Things fall through the cracks. Delegation is a way of “creating more time” for leaders, so they can continue to do what they and they alone can do best — managing tasks, jobs and personnel.
  • Use the best people for the task. By using the right individuals to do tasks that can be delegated, the leader can minimize his or her weaknesses, focus on his or her strengths, and, make best use of the strengths of everyone involved.
  • Develop People. Delegating tasks to others allows them to grow and become better and more productive in their work. Delegation is an effective way of encouraging others to develop new skills, particularly if the leader delegates tasks that require them to learn.
  • Engage/Motivate Others. Employees who are involved or engaged in their jobs tend to be better contributors. Delegation helps your entire “team” become more engaged because they are exposed to new challenges, a chance to learn, and understand that their leader trusts them to succeed at the delegated tasks.

Trust is powerful.    It is also fast.  It can be lost quickly.  Trust is also reciprocal.  If you give trust, it will be given back to you.   Delegation is a result of this trust. – (Steven R. Covey)