How to go Further Faster – Guaranteed

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Leaders are control freaks that struggle to let go. You go further faster when you pass the baton; sadly, you hinder your influence and effectiveness when you don’t.

You’ll always be a mediocre leader until you become great at delegating.

Recently an emerging leader explained they were learning to delegate. He said, “I’m finding it’s hard to let go. (No surprise there.) I need to keep my fingers in things.” He made me chuckle, not because he’s struggling but because it’s a pervasive battle.

Delegation isn’t:

Assigning a task is not delegating. Telling people what to do is not delegation. Anyone can say, “Take the trash out.”

You delegate when you:

  1. Explain the big picture – the why.
  2. Provide authority to achieve goals – the what.
  3. Handover decisions concerning how the job gets done – the how.
  4. Establish timelines. – the when.

The ultimate goals of delegating:

The goal of delegating is not getting someone to do something you don’t want to do. The two goals are:

  1. Employee engagement.
  2. Skill development.

Effective delegation best leverages your current talent in ways that elevate their potential. It’s more about people than tasks; it’s always that way.

10 principles that take you further faster:

  1. Always begin with the part most frequently excluded – mission and vision.
  2. Delegate outcomes not methods – unless specific methods are mandatory.
  3. Invite participation from employees regarding delegated assignments.
  4. Discuss the scope of authority – including limits.
  5. Agree on the definition of excellence.
  6. Explain to the organization or department that delegation has occurred or conflict is inevitable.
  7. Create controls like timelines and deadlines.
  8. Provide ample feedback but don’t meddle.
  9. Expect excellence.
  10. Face failures together. Solve challenges “with” not “for”.
Bonus: Effective delegation begins by hiring people you can trust.

Delegating poorly means you’re running out of steam. Exceptional delegating means you’re picking up speed.

What have you learned about effective delegating?


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