Ask yourself this question: as a leader, are you involved or are you essential to what’s going on in your company? Simply put, effective leaders have made the decision to delegate effectively and let go of the excuses as to why they need to stay involved in the tactical tasks.
In a recent Harvard Business Review article, Jesse Sostrin skillfully explains the differences between an effective leader and one who is, as he calls it, “a super-sized individual contributor with a leader’s title.”
Making the transition from the ‘doer’ to ‘delegator’ seems simple enough. But when we tend to hold on to the daily tasks, we tax our inner resources and limit our abilities to focus on the big picture: growing the business. We have all experienced the ‘only-I-can-do-this-the-way-it-needs-to-be-done’ mindset. But when you learn how to delegate effectively and let your subordinates do their jobs, only then can you elevate yourself to a true leadership position. Here are a few guidelines to help you understand the transition:
- Delegate with clarity. Leaders who do it well recognize the importance of defining the desired outcome of the assignment (the delegation) with absolute clarity. They explain to their colleague or subordinate exactly what success looks like if the delegated assignment is completed effectively.
- Define boundaries. Effective leaders also recognize that they must define the boundaries of the authority that their team member has when taking on the assignment.
- Engage appropriately. True leaders understand that they must stay engaged with their team member during the assignment they have delegated – to provide support, help clear out roadblocks, and offer guidance when needed.
An effective leader is confident enough to allow others to carry out the tasks at hand. By clearly setting expectations and boundaries, only then can a true leader lead the team.