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  • Matt Black

The 4 Secrets My Team Taught Me About Delegation

Even the most well-run organizations expect their leaders to shoulder much of the load.


Sometimes too much.


During a recent Twitter conversation on effective management strategies, the subject of ‘leaders spreading themselves too thin’ came up and I mentioned that by delegating to my own team, I learned a lot about them.


I also learned a lot about myself.


Here’s what my team taught me about the benefits of delegating more regularly and more effectively:


1. Every team has a dark horse… or two


Delegating often reveals new talents on your team. Wait, I didn’t know that Matt could write so well…? When given the opportunity, your people will showcase their untapped abilities and in some cases, express hidden interests or passions. Confidence will soar, especially for those who are provided a chance to shine. And perhaps most importantly, new voices will be heard. Remember: just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean it isn’t there.


2. Your team will respect you more


Nothing says “I trust you and think you’re doing a great job!” like being given the keys to a major project or important task. Delegating shows your people that you have faith in them and in turn, means they will respect you as a leader. I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants to be validated at work; being given tasks that are outside the normal lines of their roles on the team will elevate morale and result in a higher level of admiration. Affording others the ability to prove themselves is an extremely powerful position to be in.


3. You will buy yourself more time… for the team


Delegating will more than likely leave you with a bit of extra time on your hands – which you probably aren’t used to. But before you jump to the conclusion that this means you’ll be able to start new projects or focus on general administrative housekeeping, remember this: your team is only what you invest in them. After freeing yourself up, spend some time developing a new learning or development tool for your people. Look for extra opportunities around the organization where they can make an impact and you can highlight their importance. Delegation will help you find the time to do more for them, while they do more for you.


4. Your team is better at certain things than you are


Just because you’re the leader doesn’t mean that you’re the ideal man or woman for every job. Plain and simple, situations will arise where your team knows more than you, and can do a better job than you. It’s leaders with the humility to admit that who develop sparkling reputations in an organization. By putting your people in the best possible spots to succeed, you are in turn, setting yourself up for positive results as well. Great leaders delegate according to ability and interest, never by title alone.


I believe in the idea that delegation is not only a critical skill all successful leaders must master, but that it’s also a key ingredient in high-performing teams. How are we supposed to know if our people can fly if we aren’t willing to let them spread their wings? And also, how can leaders continue learning and growing if they have too much on their plate? Delegation is a fundamental strategy that you need to re-examine in your organization immediately.


What has your experience with delegation taught you? Do you think that there’s a “right” way to delegate tasks to your team? Feel free to discuss in the Comments section below!


-MB-