“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself” is the mantra of many high-performing leaders, but it’s not the healthiest approach to leadership and often leads to burnout and fatigue. Whether you think it will take longer to explain a task than to just do it yourself, you don’t want to be perceived as passing the buck, or are worried about overloading your team—there are many excuses leaders give to avoid delegation.
But, the rewards of successful delegation often far outweigh the risk. According to research from DDI, some of the biggest positive results include team members who are:
- 9 times more likely to produce innovative/creative outcomes
- 2 times more likely to go above their job description
- 2 times more likely to be considered high performers
- 9 times more likely to have high performance standards
So, if you’re the type of leader who has a hard time loosening your grip on projects and letting members of your team take the reins, here are a few quick tips for successful delegation.
Start small – You may not be ready to hand over full control of your hallmark initiatives just yet, but there is likely a smaller project where the consequences for missing a deadline or making a mistake aren’t as big that you can use as a test—both for the employee you’re delegating to, as well as to prove to yourself that your team can handle the responsibility.
Set clear expectations – In addition to clearly communicating the big picture scope of the project and how it will impact the company, lay out in detail what outcomes are expected, timelines for completion, important milestones, and any other key drivers that will help guarantee success.
Set a cadence for communication – One of the biggest reasons it can be so hard to let go of a project is feeling out of the loop on progress that is being made. However, if you set a schedule of communication and priorities for what type of challenges or decisions need to be elevated for higher-level discussion or approval, it’s easier to feel confident that you’re up to date on those delegated projects.
Let go – This is the hardest part, but to truly learn to be comfortable with delegating, at some point you have to let go. Sure, things may fall apart, but if you’ve put in the work to build a productive team and set expectations for success, you’re likely overthinking the worst possible outcomes and will be pleasantly surprised when your team knocks it out of the park.