By Mike Bensi, Consultant and Founder at Bensi & Company
Delegation was once described to me as the ability to share the workload without passing the buck. While I typically see leaders understand the importance of sharing tasks and responsibilities, I tend to hear:
“It will take too much time.”
“I can do it faster. ”
“If there is a mistake, it is my name on the line. ”
The thought of delegation can make a leader feel they are quickly losing control. When that is the case, a leader can adopt a different approach by “delegating without delegating.” This approach empowers team members at a pace that can be easier to adopt by:
Ask questions vs giving an answer. Leaders must ensure that team members have the necessary support to accomplish their goals. But a common mistake is to solve the problem for the team member. Be available for guidance by asking questions to avoid giving an answer or doing the work for the person.
Ask the person to do homework first. When a problem or question is presented to you, ask the team member to exercise their creativity and problem-solving skills by coming to you with some work completed first.
Delay your response time. Allow yourself to take a moment to gather your thoughts before swooping in to solve the problem. Whether it is a pause in a meeting, delaying an email response, or not responding while you’re away – holding on an immediate response can be a way of showing trust and allowing them to grow in their own abilities.
Split up the work. If the workload on the team feels so overwhelming, split up the work so it isn’t so much for you or the team to manage.
Leadership is not about holding onto control but about empowering others to thrive and grow. Delegating without delegating enables leaders to leverage the talents and abilities of their team members while helping yourself learn how to let go.