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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)
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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!

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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 July 21, 2021

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder Work)
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No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system.”[1]

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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From Creating Reminders to Building Habits

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being 6 hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The Wonderful Thing About Triggers — Reminders

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to Make a Reminder Works for You

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

More on Building Habits

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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Reference

[1] Getting Things Done: Trusted System

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