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How To Lean Into Delegation When You’re Used To Doing It All

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Jul. 10 2024, Published 8:00 a.m. ET

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Moving into a leadership position at work is exciting. It’s tangible proof that your hard work, initiative, and persistence have paid off. Now the fun begins: transitioning from the delegee to the delegator. 

For self-motivated women who prefer to handle their workload themselves, delegating isn’t always easy. You rely on yourself and your capabilities, so involving others can feel nerve-wracking. You may tell yourself it’s better, easier, or faster to do everything yourself. While it might seem like a good idea at the time, you’re setting yourself on the path to burnout and missing out on several benefits.

Whether you’re getting started in leadership or have been in your role for a while, it’s never too late to improve your delegation skills. Read on to learn more about delegating and how to embrace it.

Why Delegation Matters

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Delegation is an essential leadership skill because of the positive impact it has on everyone. A research study on the role of delegation revealed that delegation leads to empowerment which leads to self-efficacy. 

Employees feel motivated when they are responsible for meaningful tasks. This creates a sense of empowerment: they believe in their abilities and that their work is important. As a result, they are more motivated and committed to the team.

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But the benefits don’t stop there. Increased motivation and engagement increase team productivity. This frees up your time to focus on leadership tasks you can’t delegate. Giving your team more autonomy also leads to greater creativity. Team members get a chance to shine and hone their skills, grow professionally, and reveal potential leadership abilities.

What Makes Delegating Difficult

There’s a significant mindset shift required when you become a manager. You need to rely on others; it’s not optional. That means trusting your team and their skills and understanding there are many ways to complete a task well. It also means not feeling bad or guilty about assigning work. 

Many managers and leaders struggle with adopting this mindset because of thoughts like these:

  • No one else can do this work the way I can.
  • I don’t believe my team has the skills necessary.
  • I can’t trust my team to get this done. They will get it wrong.
  • I don’t want the team to feel overwhelmed; they already have so much on their plates. It’s better if I do it myself.
  • I’m afraid of losing control.
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The Dangers Of Not Delegating

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As uncomfortable as leaning into delegation can be, the consequences are serious for everyone involved when it doesn’t happen.

As a leader, your workload becomes overwhelming, causing you to feel overworked and stressed. It’s a one-way street to burnout. If you’re afraid of losing control and micromanaging your team, you’re also sowing the seeds of resentment, apathy, and mistrust. 

Productivity also suffers when a team feels micromanaged or mistrusted. They don’t feel valued so why should they give 100%? Creativity decreases and there are fewer professional growth opportunities, leading to a lack of motivation. Talented employees can choose to go elsewhere to regain their motivation and sense of purpose.

How To Improve Your Delegation Skills

Becoming a better delegator doesn’t need to be complicated. All you need is patience, practice, and persistence. Consider the following tips to get you started:

Get To Know Your Team: One of the keys to effective delegation is knowing the strengths and weaknesses of your team. Tap into their strengths when assigning tasks. You’ll worry less, demonstrate your trust, increase the likelihood of tasks being completed well, and boost team morale and confidence.

Communicate Clearly and Specifically: Confusion is the enemy of success. Forbes recommends being explicit with the task’s scope, expectations, intended outcomes, and deadlines. The more information your team has, the more likely they’ll be successful. 

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Provide Necessary Resources: Forbes also recommends giving your team what they need: checklists, information, time, materials, training, and support. You demonstrate your confidence in their skills and commitment to their success. Most importantly, be available for feedback and advice if it’s needed.

Invest In Project Management Software: Delegation tools can help you keep projects organized and on track. Asana, Monday.com, and Google Workspace are a few options for technology that gets everyone on the same page and accountable. You’ll be able to monitor progress without micromanaging.

Take A Delegation Training Course: If you need more structured support, look into delegation courses for leaders, like the one offered by Dale Carnegie. You’ll benefit from the instructor’s experience, practice in a safe environment, and get constructive feedback.

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Marta Kargol
By: Marta Kargol

Marta Kargol is a former educator turned freelance copywriter who brings a unique blend of storytelling and clarity to her writing. She believes effective communication shapes ideas and focuses her efforts on finding creative ways to simplify complex topics. Marta uses her writing skills to help small businesses and solopreneurs share their purpose with authenticity. She is passionate about education, self-improvement, work-life balance, and wellness, all aspects of a holistic approach to success in life. When she isn’t writing, Marta enjoys traveling the world to experience new cultures. Learn more at www.mkcopywriting.com or reach out directly at marta@mkcopywriting.com.

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