People join organizations because of the work, the job and opportunities for career growth through training and delegation.
But people leave because of the leader.
A direct supervisor is a huge component in an employee’s personal experience of work, work-life balance, and job responsibility. If you’ve left a job (or had people leave a job) because of a manager’s impact, then you know by heart how huge of an influence leaders have in a company’s culture.
It doesn’t matter what the organization advocates
Managers, leaders, and supervisors create their own subcultures within the organization. For instance, the company may go by the book. They may generally command adherence to rules and observe the decision-making hierarchy. But a leader may adopt a participative and collaborative approach. The manager can decide to observe the general office culture but may ask team members to provide input – giving employees influence in the process.
It can, of course, fly the other way. Company X can plug an open culture where employees are given personal discretion and freedom. Yet the leaders opt to micro-manage – checking work and work processes more often than necessary. Their delegation skills are not developed.
Why delegation matters
Micro-management and poor deleration skills have become a familiar scene in the past year. Remote work has changed office protocol for the long term.
While working from home has been a boon to both employee and business, it has placed tremendous pressure on leaders to perform and deliver. In other words, rather than delegate and entrust, managers would rather wear themselves out with the nitty-gritty thinking they could control the outcome.
This isn’t news. Organizations were in survival mode in the past year. But despite the easing up, the reluctance to delegate remains. If this feels like your organization, it may be time for companies to teach the merit of work delegation.
The best leaders are virtuosos at delegation
Why? They know how to empower their teams. When employees feel they are trusted, the work moves forward and the tasks are shared most efficiently.
In addition, an environment where team members own their work (and are proud of it) is created.
DELEGATING is allocating the right work to the right people
It’s not just about giving the task to the ones with the proper skill set. It’s about sharing both the task and the decision-making responsibilities. It’s also about intensifying employee commitment, getting the right results, and building capabilities.
It’s quite ideal and it’s a picture-perfect situation to have anywhere … IF leaders aren’t reluctant to let go. But why are leaders so reluctant to delegate?
- The leader is new to the role and isn’t comfortable trusting others.
- They may be leading a team who were formerly peers (and they feel awkward telling their former colleagues what to do).
- They are most likely used to being high performers and aren’t used to passing the work to someone else.
- Or they just find it hard to trust their team.
Many high-performing leaders are perfectionists and quibblers who struggle to let go of operational-level tasks.
This tendency comes at a steep cost. As these managers take on more work, the more stressed and overwhelmed they get. This often leads to burnout (and worse, resignations). At the same time, their members fall into frustration. They don’t feel appreciated. They don’t feel like their contributions are enough. And as a result of this disengagement, polishing their resumes start to sound like a wiser idea.
Delegation isn’t just about distributing workloads… It’s about doing it right
Here’s what many of us do wrong when delegating:
- They only delegate administrative tasks. Faking delegation is an all-too-familiar scene. Many leaders keep strategic and higher-level tasks to themselves. But they aren’t aware that this project can do more harm than good. Members want and NEED to be challenged to grow and contribute. In addition, team members must be given equal opportunities to try their hand at higher-level tasks to hone new skills.
- Leaders fail to communicate and express confidence. Delegation can sometimes feel like a threat when no genuine conversation is held between manager and team member.
- Managers fail to establish a plan for monitoring progress. Often, leaders send teams out on their own without direction and yet expect tasks to get done a certain way. Again, conversation is needed where both parties agree on a plan for following up to ensure progress.
Proper delegation also happens when the leader ALLOWS team members to acknowledge ownership of the work. When work is entrusted, the responsibility should never be withdrawn. Allow the employee to complete the task. Create an environment where they experience management’s support without feeling inadequate. From the get-go, set expectations and communicate the support they will need to complete every undertaking.
Delegating it right demands trust. But trust isn’t easy to come by. Is it earned? Exacted from every employee? How do you encourage confidence among your team members? Here’s something to look into…
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
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TIGERS provides a comprehensive, multi-pronged and robust system for improving your collaborative workforce behavior, collaborative work culture, profitability, project management and team leadership success. We license existing coaches, consultants and HR professionals in the use of these tools.
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