Delegate, Let Go, or Die!
Great leaders delegate.
And yet many leaders find it difficult to let go, especially when the stakes are high and something big is on the line.
There are a number of reasons why leaders don’t delegate, whether it is a need to be in control, fear of letting go, micro-managing, or simply believing that no one else can do it the right way … of course the right means their way!
However, there is a hidden message that a leader sends to their employees that goes far beyond being the issue of control or micromanaging. The hidden message is this … I DON’T … TRUST … YOU!
I don’t know of a successful relationship in business or in life where trust is not a cornerstone. Without trust a relationship is doomed to fail.
If you are a leader and you are struggling to delegate, here are 3 questions to ask yourself and get you moving forward:
- Is the reason I don’t delegate about my inability to trust others? If so, why do I not trust my people (my history, my own issues with trust, etc.)? Am I willing to do to take a first step today towards finding a solution ?
- Do I hold on and take responsibility for tasks that others on my team could be doing? If so, why is this (being the hero, being the go-to-person, job-security, feeling needed, etc.)? Am I willing to slowly let go? What’s the first step I can take today to start the delegating?
- Would I feel comfortable telling my people directly that the reason I don’t delegate is because I don’t trust them? Probably not, and that’s the message you are sending anyway. What does this inability to trust your people really cost you and your team in terms of efficiency, morale, succession, effectiveness, and the ability to collaborate? What can you do today to start building trust and start delegating?
Most leaders believe they have good reasons to not delegate. I guess any-one can rationalize any-thing when they want to make a point or defend a position.
The truth is … most leaders want to succeed AND you only have a certain amount of bandwidth and energy.
In these times when most people are being pushed to perform faster and better with less, you cannot succeed by holding on … you either have to let go and delegate or decide you don’t have the right people and you have to let some of them go.
The truth is … most people want to contribute in some way. Think about the sense of belonging we feel when we help someone else or we are a part of something bigger than ourselves. By not delegating you rob others of an opportunity to belong and feel that sense of pride and purpose. And when people don’t have purpose or meaning, they start a slow death spiral towards disengagement. Yes, a death of sorts.
So when will you start to … delegate … let go … or?