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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 October 22, 2020

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

2 Transformational Ways to Spark Your Creative Energy

Good things come in twos: Peanut butter and jelly, Day and night, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. The same is true for what sparks our creative energy: our thoughts and actions.

Creativity is an inside job as much as it is about a conducive schedule, physical environment, and supportive behaviors. By establishing the right internal and external landscape, creativity can blossom from the abstract to the concrete and we can have fun along the way.

Sparking creativity is all about setting up the right conditions so a spark is ignited and sustained. The sparks don’t fizzle out. They are allowed to grow and ripen.

Think of a garden. Intention alone will not produce the delicious red tomato nor will the readiest seed. That seed needs attention at its nascent stage and as it grows a stalk and produces fruit. If we want to enjoy more than one fruit, we keep at it, cultivating the plant and reaping multiple harvests.

Creativity lives in each of us like seeds in the earth or encapsulated in a nut. Seeds of ideas, concepts, designs, stories, images, and even ways of communicating that surprise and delight await activation.

By sparking our creative energy, we activate these unique seeds. Like snowflakes, they are of a moment and always without a match. The smallest sparks encourage even the smallest, most dormant seeds to sprout.

The good news is that our creative energy wishes to be sparked—to be invited to play. It wants to be our regular playmate.

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1. Be Childlike in Your Thoughts, Attitudes, and Approach

Being childlike in our thoughts, attitudes, and approach is an easy way to internally have our thoughts be gracious prolific gardeners to our creative energy. If we want it to come out and play and hang around as our regular companion, then let’s return to our 5-year-old selves.

Our childhood selves are naturally curious. We still have that curiosity! All we have to do is remind ourselves to get curious. We can do that by simply observing and being with what is in front of us instead of making up a story about what won’t work or why something can’t be done. So, it’s about cultivating curiosity instead of jumping into judgment.

Move Your Inner Judge to the Sidelines

When we get curious, creativity percolates and, ultimately, takes its place in the world. To give a hand in choosing curiosity over judgment, we can move the judge that also lives inside us to the sidelines. The judge squashes our creative urges, even when they are as small as sharing a point of view. It’s that pesky voice that causes us to doubt ourselves or worry about what others will think.

The judge is also risk-averse. The judge likes things to stay the same. Change makes the judge nervous.

Creativity is all about risk and changing things up. It needs risk, even failure, to be its naturally innovative, dynamic, impactful self. The judge likes to convince us failure is something to be avoided at all costs.

To move the judge to the sidelines and let curiosity reign, we can pay attention to who we are in conversation with and who is calling the shots.

Is it the voice of fear, doubt, or anxiety (the inner-critic—the judge’s boss)? Or is it the voice of wisdom, courage, strength, and non-attachment, and of course curiosity (the inner-leader)?

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We can easily tell the difference by how each makes us feel. The inner-critic depletes and slows us down, putting roadblocks in the way. The inner-leader energizes and a natural rhythm develops.

It’s all about who we spend time with. If we wish to exercise, we will seek out our friends who go to the gym or hike. If we want to lose some weight, we will opt to eat dinner with someone who prefers a healthy spot over fast food.

After getting curious, we can honor what our curiosity prompts us to do. The spark can do its job and a fire starts to glow when commitment enters. Our childhood selves were fully committed to being creative. That level of commitment is still something we are very capable of exercising!!

Again, we need to let go of the judge. We can ask ourselves, what do we want to commit to—negativity that depletes our creative energy, depth, and output, or the understanding that our thoughts and attitudes matter and that right thoughts and attitudes are the sparks that really let our creativity come alive?

Learn to Recall Your Childhood Self

To get in touch with that unabashedly committed childhood self, recall your childhood self. If you have a picture, pull one out. Keep it around so you can remember to activate that innate creative nature that was prominent then and wants to be prominent now and always.

Soak in the essence of that being. Commit to their commitment to brave and dogged trial and error because it is yours as well. You are that person.

Remember how tenacious you were when you wanted to build that sandcastle. You kept at it as the waves came in. You built with fury or reconfigured the walls. Also, remember that there was a willingness to fail since you were as invested in the process as well as the outcome—but less with the outcome. You were willing to experiment and start again. There was vitality—the main lifeline of your creative energy—instead of a rigid attachment.

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When you notice you are in conversation with your inner-critic or being held back by it, simply acknowledge, name it, and then switch to your inner-leader by taking a few good deep belly breaths, rubbing two fingertips together, or listening to ambient sounds in the background.

Physical movements shift our negative thoughts over to the positive domain of the inner-leader. As our judge continues to sit on the sidelines, our ability to quiet the inner-critic becomes stronger. We taste freedom. A simple taste emboldens us to say no again to the judge and yes to what makes our hearts and spirits sing—our creativity.

We begin to spark creativity to the point it no longer needs to be invited to play. It becomes our regular playmate—the younger sibling or the kid next door ready to have some fun, maybe even make some mischief by shaking things up.

When we align with our inner-leader and think and act from its promptings, creativity flows up and out with ease, as it needs to!

Letting those initial sparks generate a creativity fire that keeps burning is something we can all do! That’s the inside job.

2. Listen to Your Inner Leaders of Creative Energy

If we listen, our inner-leaders will let us know just what we need to set-up and do in our physical world to maximize that gorgeous, hungry creativity we now have flowing freely in us.

The seed has been unlocked! So, now what?

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To enable our creative energy to take its form and place outside of us, there needs to be spaciousness! Spaciousness in our physical worlds impacts our internal one. It lets the voice of the inner-leader be heard. It lets creativity have room to be sparked and acted upon.

With a little discipline, we can easily create spaciousness in our daily lives—spaciousness that will spark our creativity and let it take shape.

So, no matter who you are and what conditions help your creativity thrive, check-out these easy-to-implement basic suggestions:

  • Reduce or eliminate multi-tasking.
  • Say yes to what matters and what aligns with your big values and goals.
  • Say no to all else.
  • Say no again.
  • Schedule time in your calendar as you do with other things in your life to just be, to ponder, to let ideas percolate, and to create.
  • Spend time doing the things that bring out your creative energy. It could be walking, singing, or simply looking out the window.
  • Meditate.
  • Breathe—long breaths in and long breaths out through the nose.
  • Invite your body and heart into your experiences so your mind is a part of you and not all of you.
  • Try a new thing to spark your creativity. If you spend time running, try a different route. If running feels stale, cruise around a museum, or go for a bike ride.
  • Play a game. Indoors out or outside. Think of what makes you happy that you haven’t done in a while. Is it a physical game like badminton or cards? Maybe it’s storytelling? Play is creative, and it sparks the creative energy, too.
  • Spend time in the places that bring out your creativity. What spot in your home could be your spot for entering into that mode? Do you need to get out? Maybe a park bench is the right spot, with a book of poetry, or even nothing at all.
  • Spend time in nature. Nature brings us to a place of calm and awe and through that our creativity is easily sparked.

Final Thoughts

These are all habits—habits of mind and habits of doing. Experiment with what works for you. Have fun. If you give even 50% to altering your thoughts and actions, then you will begin to spark your creativity. It takes a lot of curiosity and commitment, but it can definitely be done.

Our innate creative energy is a deep source of all that we seek—joy, connection, renewal. It deserves and looks forward to the changes you will make that will let sparks fly and ignite!

More Tips to Spark Your Creative Energy

Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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