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Creating Successful Leaders

If you’re like many ambitious individuals I know, you work hard and follow that old axiom: “If you want something done right, it’s best to do it yourself.” This, however, is flawed thinking. By taking on everything yourself, you’ll get bogged down and caught up in work that may be ill-suited to your talents (and, perhaps, better suited to others). Instead, it’s better for yourself and your career to delegate.

Delegation isn’t lazy. It’s an essential tool for propelling your career, improving results, developing your personal brand, and keeping your workload under control.

The fact is, there is only a limited amount you can do, no matter how hard you work. Because we are not super-humans, it’s essential that we learn to let go and trust others to take on certain tasks. If you’re a perfectionist, you may be thinking, “How can I possibly entrust others with work that I know I can do better myself?”

For one, you don’t know you can do something “better” unless you let others have a fair shake. Secondly, don’t confuse “better” with “different” (others may take a different approach, and that’s definitely not a bad thing). Third, skillful delegation may take a bit of training at first. You might have to teach someone else how to do a certain task, but that’s part of the process. Share your insights, know-how, and expectations. Make it clear that you’re available to answer any questions or provide feedback.

To Delegate, or Not to Delegate: That is the Question

When faced with a new task, don’t just jump into it right away. Instead, ask yourself, “Would this task be a worthy use of my time?” If you continue to accept projects that don’t align to, or properly utilize, your skills, you’re diluting your brand. Perhaps there is someone else who has the skills to do the task better, or who would be eager to develop skills that the task would involve?

Strategically delegating tasks to others allows you to focus on the tasks that reinforce your most vital skills—those you want to be known for as part of your personal brand. (If you haven’t yet considered what your personal brand is, now is the time to start!)

How to Handle the “Who?”

When considering who to delegate to, take into account the following questions:

  • What are this person’s skills and knowledge?
  • Does this person currently have space in their workload?
  • What is this person’s preferred work style?

Once you have decided on the best candidate, don’t forget to document the process. When practicing delegation, it’s extremely important to keep track of your processes to save time in the future and develop best practices that promote clarity and efficiency. Just as you, say, develop practices for hosting a BBQ—send the invites, clean the house and yard, prep the food, etc.—creating processes for sharing tasks at work will cut down on confusion and clutter, and will save you time in the long run.

Your Challenge:

Next time you’re feeling overwhelmed by your workload, fight the urge to dive headfirst into your pile of tasks. Instead, assess these projects and consider whether or not some can be delegated to another member of your team instead.

Do you have any helpful tips for delegating effectively? Please share!


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