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Last Updated on December 27, 2020

The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Do It)

The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Do It)

Good leaders have mastered the art of delegating leadership.

Delegation is a simple phenomenon. It means that a manager or leader breaks down a big work project into smaller parts and divides it among various individuals. The supervisor maintains control while the subordinates enjoy some authority, too.

This simple concept of delegating leadership has great benefits if done the right way. Keep reading to find out all about it!

Why You Should Start Delegating Leadership

The main question is, why bother with delegating leadership at all? Why should you replace your years-old system with this new one?

Well, grab a snack because the list is long.

1. Time-Efficient

It’s pretty self-explanatory how delegating leadership saves so much time.

The real deal is that you can utilize this saved time for so many other important tasks. As a leader or manager, you always need more time. Delegating is the magic to get that wish granted!

A lot of things can save you time, but with delegation you get enough control to keep an eye on the delegated work or project. This gives you room to allow multiple projects to go on at once without having to compromise your attention on any one of them.

Simultaneously, you can work on things that are of higher importance and cannot be delegated.

In the longer run, the simple idea of delegating leadership brings immense economic benefits to the organization simply because time is managed more efficiently.

2. Empowers Employees

Do you know what the difference between a highly successful organization and a struggling organization is? It is not the size of the business or the effectiveness of the employees.

Instead, it is the organization’s treatment of employees. Treatment in this context doesn’t mean employee benefits and relationships. It refers to employee empowerment.

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Look at it this way:

There’s one extremely genius individual, but since s/he isn’t the one with the highest authority in a work environment, her/his abilities are restricted. S/he is always told how and what to do.

One day, their superiors let them take control by delegating responsibilities. They relay what final output they are expecting, and the rest is on the employee. This empowerment will put the responsibility on the individual’s shoulders, and, as a result, this person will put in more effort and productivity than normal.

This empowering attitude of the organization makes subordinates feel like they are in control, which encourages healthy self-sufficiency. No organization can be successful without this approach.

3. More Skills for Everyone

Think of one skill that you think you are great at.

Were you always an expert in this skill? More than likely, it took you practice, a lot of mistakes, and hard work to master it.

The same applies to all employees. Once you start delegating leadership, they will get the chance to practice hands-on.

When you begin delegation in your office, you can start conducting supporting, skill-based workshops as well. The nature of delegating itself allows leaders to train their subordinates, and leaders also get to learn from their employees.

4. Encourages Honesty

Honesty is something so vital, yet it can never be forced. Communicating feedback, doing the task, being punctual, maintaining good relationships inside the workplace, and everything else needed for a smooth work environment requires honesty.

Believe it or not, delegating leadership gives every individual the space to become honest willingly. It is impossible to delegate for the leader and complete delegated tasks by the subordinates without complete transparency.

This is one place where honesty can start to become a habit, and eventually, it will become a part of every single employee in your organization, all with the help of delegation.

5. More Brains

This point is connected with employee empowerment.

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When the subordinates take control, they think differently than the superiors. It is human nature that no two individuals ever perceive the same information in the same exact way.

What this means is that for the same task, more brains will put in their ideas. Therefore, on top of what the leader suggests, the subordinate can bridge in more ideas and produce something innovative.

6. Leadership Requires Planning

Being a leader is not an easy job. There is a lot that goes into becoming a good leader.

One of the most vital duties of a leader is to plan. Without doing so, not only is the life of the leader worsened, but it also affects all of the subordinates.

Planning and organizing is a time-consuming job. Luckily, delegating leaves behind ample time for planning effectively.

Basically, delegating effectively lets the team leader do what’s most important and focus on the big picture while the rest of the team handles delegated tasks.

7. Organization of Tasks

Here’s something we all know but tend to forget quite often:

Not all tasks are equal. Some are a higher priority, while others can be delayed. Sometimes, specific tasks come up later but need to be completed before everything else.

This is why leaders need to plan. However, even after all the planning, urgent tasks or projects can surface out of nowhere.

In times like these, the best way out is by delegating leadership. Jobs that do not require 100% expertise of the leader can be delegated.

Now, the delegated task will be completed well in time. Similarly, whatever the leader is left behind doing can also be tackled urgently.

Mistakes to Avoid When Delegating Leadership

Aren’t you amazed by all the mind-blowing benefits of delegating leadership?

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Be careful, though, because these benefits can be lost if you make the following mistakes. These common delegation mistakes can turn the tables, and instead of advantages, the wrong delegation technique may make things harder for you.

Over-Delegation

Delegation is the distribution of workload so that the delegator can spend their time doing more important things.

This does not mean that the supervisor should delegate everything and sit idle themselves.

Over-delegating leads to excess burden and pressure on employees. No employee can ever perform well enough under constant stress.

Also, if you delegate more than one task simultaneously to the same team, things will get messy. You can delegate multiple tasks at one time, but make sure you’re distributing the workload among more individuals instead of concentrating the pressure on just a few.

Micromanaging

Delegating leadership is all about sharing control. If you’re going to micromanage every single move of your subordinates, you might as well do the job yourself.

Not only is it hectic for the supervisor, but it also makes things tougher for the subordinates. You must give enough autonomy and authority for employees to succeed and complete the task.

Lack of Communication

Just because you’ve handed over part of your reign to another individual does not rid you of responsibility. Your duty here is clear communication.

Whenever you delegate, be very clear, and do not leave any ambiguity.

From task details to deadlines to the degree of authority being delegated, let the subordinate know all the specifics.

In times like these, it is better to over-communicate instead of risking a lack of communication. Also, clarify things that you assume the team already knows.

Moreover, do not expect the subordinates to ask all the questions on the spot. As they move on with the task, more queries will surface. So, be readily available to provide the support that your team needs.

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Demand for 100% Perfection

Humans always make mistakes. As a leader, you make mistakes, too. That’s not something to be ashamed of.

The concern here is that you and all your subordinates should be willing to accept the mistakes. Followed by acceptance of a mistake is the will to fix it.

You should put confidence in your team members. Give them enough room to mess up while performing the task so that they do not feel overwhelmed with pressure. At the same time, be authoritative enough to command them to learn from their mistake so that it’s not repeated in the future.

Instead of reprimanding your team for making mistakes, offer help. Since you are the expert in the lot, your subordinates expect to learn from you.

Choosing the Wrong Person

The essence of delegation is that the subordinates should do a good job.

Now, delegation doesn’t magically make every team member highly skilled. It is your job as a leader to identify who can do what.

Moreover, you should also use the 5 levels of task delegation[1] to make sure that the assigned jobs are monitored according to the skill level of the subordinates.

Distributing tasks randomly will do the opposite of what you expect from delegation.[2]

To save time, you should pre-evaluate all of your subordinates. This way, when the time comes, you know exactly who to go to.

Conclusion

There is no doubt left in the importance of delegating leadership.

If you’re a leader who is concerned about the productivity, pressure, workload, and overall environment in your workspace, learning how to delegate is a beneficial path to adopt in the long term.

Avoid the common rookie leader mistakes and let delegating leadership do wonders for your organization!

More Tips on Delegating

Featured photo credit: Dylan Gillis via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Inc.: 5 Levels of Remarkably Effective Delegation
[2] American Management Association: Delegation Do’s and Don’ts

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Leon Ho

Founder & CEO of Lifehack

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Last Updated on March 23, 2021

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

Manage Your Energy so You Can Manage Your Time

One of the greatest ironies of this age is that while various gadgets like smartphones and netbooks allow you to multitask, it seems that you never manage to get things done. You are caught in the busyness trap. There’s just too much work to do in one day that sometimes you end up exhausted with half-finished tasks.

The problem lies in how to keep our energy level high to ensure that you finish at least one of your most important tasks for the day. There’s just not enough hours in a day and it’s not possible to be productive the whole time.

You need more than time management. You need energy management

1. Dispel the idea that you need to be a “morning person” to be productive

How many times have you heard (or read) this advice – wake up early so that you can do all the tasks at hand. There’s nothing wrong with that advice. It’s actually reeks of good common sense – start early, finish early. The thing is that technique alone won’t work with everyone. Especially not with people who are not morning larks.

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I should know because I was once deluded with the idea that I will be more productive if I get out of bed by 6 a.m. Like most of you Lifehackers, I’m always on the lookout for productivity hacks because I have a lot of things in my plate. I’m working full time as an editor for a news agency, while at the same time tending to my side business as a content marketing strategist. I’m also a travel blogger and oh yeah, I forgot, I also have a life.

I read a lot of productivity books and blogs looking for ways to make the most of my 24 hours. Most stories on productivity stress waking up early. So I did – and I was a major failure in that department – both in waking up early and finishing early.

2. Determine your “peak hours”

Energy management begins with looking for your most productive hours in a day. Getting attuned to your body clock won’t happen instantly but there’s a way around it.

Monitor your working habits for one week and list down the time when you managed to do the most work. Take note also of what you feel during those hours – do you feel energized or lethargic? Monitor this and you will find a pattern later on.

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My experiment with being a morning lark proved that ignoring my body clock and just doing it by disciplining myself to wake up before 8 a.m. will push me to be more productive. I thought that by writing blog posts and other reports in the morning that I would be finished by noon and use my lunch break for a quick gym session. That never happened. I was sleepy, distracted and couldn’t write jack before 10 a.m.

In fact that was one experiment that I shouldn’t have tried because I should know better. After all, I’ve been writing for a living for the last 15 years, and I have observed time and again that I write more –and better – in the afternoon and in evenings after supper. I’m a night owl. I might as well, accept it and work around it.

Just recently, I was so fired up by a certain idea that – even if I’m back home tired from work – I took out my netbook, wrote and published a 600-word blog post by 11 p.m. This is a bit extreme and one of my rare outbursts of energy, but it works for me.

3. Block those high-energy hours

Once you have a sense of that high-energy time, you can then mold your schedule so that your other less important tasks will be scheduled either before or after this designated productive time.

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Block them out in your calendar and use the high-energy hours for your high priority tasks – especially those that require more of your mental energy and focus. You also need to use these hours to any task that will bring you closer to you life’s goal.

If you are a morning person, you might want to schedule most business meetings before lunch time as it’s important to keep your mind sharp and focused. But nothing is set in stone. Sometimes you have to sacrifice those productive hours to attend to other personal stuff – like if you or your family members are sick or if you have to attend your son’s graduation.

That said, just remember to keep those productive times on your calendar. You may allow for some exemptions but stick to that schedule as much as possible.

There’s no right or wrong way of using this energy management technique because everything depends on your own personal circumstances. What you need to remember is that you have to accept what works for you – and not what other productivity gurus say you should do.

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Understanding your own body clock is the key to time management. Without it, you end up exhausted chasing a never-ending cycle of tasks and frustrations.

Featured photo credit: Collin Hardy via unsplash.com

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