If you’ve been leading for any length of time, you know you should delegate. My earliest leadership memory is of delegating household chores to my younger brother and sisters when I was eleven.
Even then, I knew I should delegate…and you know it now. You know you should delegate because:
- You can’t do it all yourself.
- Other people have talents and abilities beyond yours.
- When you share responsibility, it helps your people to grow.
You know you should delegate, but it’s a struggle to do it well.
Three Delegation Mistakes Most Managers Make
In my work with thousands of leaders I consistently see three delegation mistakes that lead to countless hours of lost time, frazzled nerves, and frustrated leaders. If you make these mistakes, you’re not alone. I have done them all more than once.
The good news is that when you address these mistakes, your people grow, your team gets more done, and you have more time for the work only you can do.
Mistake #1: Delegate Process, Not Outcome.
Effective leaders delegate the outcome. Here are a few examples:
- We need a new product prototype that meets these engineering specifications…
- The task is to come up with a solution to the problem where we do both x and y.
- Your team needs to be trained on the process so they can complete it accurately within ten minutes each month.
When you delegate, be clear about the outcome. What is it they are responsible to achieve? Don’t delegate the process – that’s micromanaging or training. If they’ve never learned how to do something, it’s training. If it’s training, call it that. Delegate outcomes, not process.