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Mastering Leadership Skills: Know When to Delegate

September 2, 2022

Leadership is both a science and an art; it requires methodical strategy and logical decision-making, as well as constant creativity and empathetic socialization. It is a unique balance that requires a combination of innate skill and repetitive practice. Perhaps this is why it is often so incredibly difficult for business owners and managers to step back and let someone else take the reins on big, small, or in-between projects. Delegation does not always come easily to those who are used to being in charge of everything. A great quality of a leader is the ability to handle an abundance of tasks within various subjects; however, this also often leads to a complex of believing you are the only one who can complete the task. Over time, managers must learn the difference between when they can perform a skill – versus when they should. Read on for four instances it is essential to delegate.

  1. Hiring a new teammate. One of the most exciting aspects of managing a team is hiring new people and experiencing the unique perspectives they bring to the table. Giving the new hire time to settle in is fine, but make sure to delegate tasks you believe they will do well with earlier rather than later. This is your chance to get projects off of you and see how the new hire handles items so you can analyze how to continue to delegate to this individual in the future.

  2. Making priorities. Does the sound of a calendar alert send shivers up your spine as you look through your list of eight “high priority” items due this week? Is your inbox cluttering with dozens of emails that you have avoided opening, as they will only add additional items to the list? You aren’t alone. This is the plight of every business owner or manager. Plus, read that again: You aren’t alone! You have a team available who can assist with tasks. There is rarely a point where every project is an equal priority. Set aside time to truly and honestly set a priority number for your tasks. If something requires your attention or expertise right away, put it high. If something can wait or be completed by someone else, set it lower or send it off.

  3. Setting your boundaries. This is tricky: As a business owner or manager, you most likely view your company on equal ground to yourself. Though, there are times it is essential to set boundaries. Skipped lunches? Worked through holidays? Spent long evenings in your office? Going above and beyond is terrific, but it leads to intense burnout and less-than-ideal work that you could easily avoid through delegation prior to when tasks are due. Also, with the right team and healthy company culture, it’s never too late to ask for help. 

  4. Identifying your strengths and limitations. You may be good at everything (right?), but what do you excel at? And what do you excel the least at? If you focus on the tasks you perform best, you can delegate other tasks to people who may perform those tasks even better. With a bit of mindful delegation, you have successfully increased the quality of your workload. Passing the baton does not mean you lost the race; it means that you identified when it was someone else’s time to shine.

  5. Stepping off the high horse. It is a commendable trait to work hard and “do it all,” – but are you really? It may feel like it and look like it; however, multitasking requires splitting your attention between an array of topics or projects. Take a moment and step back. You are not the only human in history who can focus on multiple items simultaneously. In fact, when you are multitasking, you are simply bouncing back and forth between items. You are most likely abundantly skilled in this ability, but this is not always what is best for the project, customer, or client. If you have many important tasks to complete one day, acknowledge them and find another individual to assist.

Delegation is key to a successful business. Not only does it improve productivity, but it also improves workplace morale as teammates feel valued and respected. Use your gift of leadership to determine those best to complete tasks – even if it is not always you.


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