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Published on May 22, 2020

The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Properly Delegate)

The Importance of Delegating Leadership (And How to Properly Delegate)

Good leaders have mastered the art of delegation.

That’s great, but have you ever wondered why delegating leadership is so important?

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 Delegate

The main question is, why bother with delegating 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 in 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 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. It also isn’t 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, his/her abilities are restricted. S/he is always dictated to how and what to do.

One day, their superiors let them take control. 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.

Now look back. Were you always an expert in this skill? Of course not. It took you practice, a lot of mistakes, and hard work to master it.

The same applies to all employees. Once you delegate 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

Who doesn’t love honest employees?

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.

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5. More Brains

This point is connected with employee empowerment.

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, delegation lets the leaders do what’s most important 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, certain 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 can surface out of nowhere.

In times like these, the best way out is for the leader to delegate. 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

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 to all subordinates.

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. 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.

Demand for 100% Perfection

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

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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 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, delegation is a beneficial path to adopt.

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

More Tips on Delegating Leadership

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 June 3, 2020

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

How to Give Constructive Feedback in the Workplace

We all crave constructive feedback. We want to know not just what we’re doing well but also what we could be doing better.

However, giving and getting constructive feedback isn’t just some feel-good exercise. In the workplace, it’s part and parcel of how companies grow.

Let’s take a closer look.

Why Constructive Feedback Is Critical

A culture of feedback benefits individuals on a team and the team itself. Constructive feedback has the following effects:

Builds Workers’ Skills

Think about the last time you made a mistake. Did you come away from it feeling attacked—a key marker of destructive feedback—or did you feel like you learned something new?

Every time a team member learns something, they become more valuable to the business. The range of tasks they can tackle increases. Over time, they make fewer mistakes, require less supervision, and become more willing to ask for help.

Boosts Employee Loyalty

Constructive feedback is a two-way street. Employees want to receive it, but they also want the feedback they give to be taken seriously.

If employees see their constructive feedback ignored, they may take it to mean they aren’t a valued part of the team. Nine in ten employees say they’d be more likely to stick with a company that takes and acts on their feedback.[1]

Strengthens Team Bonds

Without trust, teams cannot function. Constructive feedback builds trust because it shows that the giver of the feedback cares about the success of the recipient.

However, for constructive feedback to work its magic, both sides have to assume good intentions. Those giving the feedback must genuinely want to help, and those getting it has to assume that the goal is to build them up rather than to tear them down.

Promotes Mentorship

There’s nothing wrong with a single round of constructive feedback. But when it really makes a difference is when it’s repeated—continuous, constructive feedback is the bread and butter of mentorship.

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Be the change you want to see on your team. Give constructive feedback often and authentically, and others will naturally start to see you as a mentor.

Clearly, constructive feedback is something most teams could use more of. But how do you actually give it?

How to Give Constructive Feedback

Giving constructive feedback is tricky. Get it wrong, and your message might fall on deaf ears. Get it really wrong, and you could sow distrust or create tension across the entire team.

Here are ways to give constructive feedback properly:

1. Listen First

Often, what you perceive as a mistake is a decision someone made for a good reason. Listening is the key to effective communication.

Seek to understand: how did the other person arrive at her choice or action?

You could say:

  • “Help me understand your thought process.”
  • “What led you to take that step?”
  • “What’s your perspective?”

2. Lead With a Compliment

In school, you might have heard it called the “sandwich method”: Before (and ideally, after) giving difficult feedback, share a compliment. That signals to the recipient that you value their work.

You could say:

  • “Great design. Can we see it with a different font?”
  • “Good thinking. What if we tried this?”

3. Address the Wider Team

Sometimes, constructive feedback is best given indirectly. If your comment could benefit others on the team, or if the person whom you’re really speaking to might take it the wrong way, try communicating your feedback in a group setting.

You could say:

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  • “Let’s think through this together.”
  • “I want everyone to see . . .”

4. Ask How You Can Help

When you’re on a team, you’re all in it together. When a mistake happens, you have to realize that everyone—not just the person who made it—has a role in fixing it. Give constructive feedback in a way that recognizes this dynamic.

You could say:

  • “What can I do to support you?”
  • “How can I make your life easier?
  • “Is there something I could do better?”

5. Give Examples

To be useful, constructive feedback needs to be concrete. Illustrate your advice by pointing to an ideal.

What should the end result look like? Who has the process down pat?

You could say:

  • “I wanted to show you . . .”
  • “This is what I’d like yours to look like.”
  • “This is a perfect example.”
  • “My ideal is . . .”

6. Be Empathetic

Even when there’s trust in a team, mistakes can be embarrassing. Lessons can be hard to swallow. Constructive feedback is more likely to be taken to heart when it’s accompanied by empathy.

You could say:

  • “I know it’s hard to hear.”
  • “I understand.”
  • “I’m sorry.”

7. Smile

Management consultancies like Credera teach that communication is a combination of the content, delivery, and presentation.[2] When giving constructive feedback, make sure your body language is as positive as your message. Your smile is one of your best tools for getting constructive feedback to connect.

8. Be Grateful

When you’re frustrated about a mistake, it can be tough to see the silver lining. But you don’t have to look that hard. Every constructive feedback session is a chance for the team to get better and grow closer.

You could say:

  • “I’m glad you brought this up.”
  • “We all learned an important lesson.”
  • “I love improving as a team.”

9. Avoid Accusations

Giving tough feedback without losing your cool is one of the toughest parts of working with others. Great leaders and project managers get upset at the mistake, not the person who made it.[3]

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You could say:

  • “We all make mistakes.”
  • “I know you did your best.”
  • “I don’t hold it against you.”

10. Take Responsibility

More often than not, mistakes are made because of miscommunications Recognize your own role in them.

Could you have been clearer in your directions? Did you set the other person up for success?

You could say:

  • “I should have . . .”
  • “Next time, I’ll . . .”

11. Time it Right

Constructive feedback shouldn’t catch people off guard. Don’t give it while everyone is packing up to leave work. Don’t interrupt a good lunch conversation.

If in doubt, ask the person to whom you’re giving feedback to schedule the session themselves. Encourage them to choose a time when they’ll be able to focus on the conversation rather than their next task.

12. Use Their Name

When you hear your name, your ears naturally perk up. Use that when giving constructive feedback. Just remember that constructive feedback should be personalized, not personal.

You could say:

  • “Bob, I wanted to chat through . . .”
  • “Does that make sense, Jesse?”

13. Suggest, Don’t Order

When you give constructive feedback, it’s important not to be adversarial. The very act of giving feedback recognizes that the person who made the mistake had a choice—and when the situation comes up again, they’ll be able to choose differently.

You could say:

  • “Next time, I suggest . . .”
  • “Try it this way.”
  • “Are you on board with that?”

14. Be Brief

Even when given empathetically, constructive feedback can be uncomfortable to receive. Get your message across, make sure there are no hard feelings, and move on.

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One exception? If the feedback isn’t understood, make clear that you have plenty of time for questions. Rushing through what’s clearly an open conversation is disrespectful and discouraging.

15. Follow Up

Not all lessons are learned immediately. After giving a member of your team constructive feedback, follow it up with an email. Make sure you’re just as respectful and helpful in your written feedback as you are on your verbal communication.

You could say:

  • “I wanted to recap . . .”
  • “Thanks for chatting with me about . . .”
  • “Did that make sense?”

16. Expect Improvement

Although you should always deliver constructive feedback in a supportive manner, you should also expect to see it implemented. If it’s a long-term issue, set milestones.

By what date would you like to see what sort of improvement? How will you measure that improvement?

You could say:

  • “I’d like to see you . . .”
  • “Let’s check back in after . . .”
  • “I’m expecting you to . . .”
  • “Let’s make a dent in that by . . .”

17. Give Second Chances

Giving feedback, no matter how constructive, is a waste of time if you don’t provide an opportunity to implement it. Don’t set up a “gotcha” moment, but do tap the recipient of your feedback next time a similar task comes up.

You could say:

  • “I know you’ll rock it next time.”
  • “I’d love to see you try again.”
  • “Let’s give it another go.”

Final Thoughts

Constructive feedback is not an easy nut to crack. If you don’t give it well, then maybe it’s time to get some. Never be afraid to ask.

More on Constructive Feedback

Featured photo credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com via unsplash.com

Reference

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