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Letting Go: The One Thing You Must Learn to Succeed as a Leader

Believe me, I understand how you feel. You have expectations for yourself and, whenever you’re assigned a given project, you want it to go off without a hitch. Typically, this means we’ll take on the entire project on our own so that we can control it from start to finish. After all, no one else can do the job as well as we can, right?

Well, here’s the thing. In some cases, that might be true. Then again, if part of the assignment involves writing complex CSS for a website build, and you’ve never once touched HTML (both of which are abbreviations for specific website terms), you’re going to need help. Learning how to trust others in that they’ll put the same amount of effort into your project as you will, is critical to your success.

Today I want to talk about delegating and how it’s so important to your success as a leader.

Delegation is the one thing you’ll need to learn if you want to succeed as a leader

In fact, delegation is quite possibly the most important thing you’ll ever do as a leader. Time and time again, I’ve seen firsthand the results of a manager who was unable to delegate. When delegation is lacking in a team, it crumbles — for a variety of reasons. These include:

  • The team can’t properly utilize their talents;

  • The leader burns themselves out faster than a Fourth of July sparkler;

  • The manager often transfers their frustration onto their team members;

  • No one feels important;

The list goes on and on. Delegating is essential to building a team, and as hard as it can be to let go sometimes, it’s even harder to undo the damage once it’s been done from not delegating. To stop that from happening, here are three things to consider when deciding how to delegate to your team members.

Look for employees that complement your areas of growth

As you work alongside your team, certain characteristics are going to make themselves evident. Someone you never knew was data-driven may excel at analytics, but their innate ability to see patterns in data is only initially evident because they’re a highly logical person.

Math and logic go hand in hand. Likewise, a person who is naturally gifted at wooing people to their side may be a hidden salesperson in your department. Neither of these two individuals may have any experience as a data analyst or a salesperson, but their innate abilities can highlight a job they’ll naturally excel at.

If you’re responsible for increasing sales, you can’t be the manager, the analyst, and the salesperson. But you can delegate those tasks to team members who demonstrate a natural affinity towards those types of tasks.

Use personality tests to unearth hidden skills and traits

Leading off of innate abilities, you may also have a hidden leader on your team. While you can observe that through their work ethic, you may also want to consider having your entire team take a personality test such as the Cliffton StrengthsFinder or something similar.

Those results will tell you even more about your team and who you can trust as a leader. Then, it’s easy to recognize who to delegate the managerial aspects of your project to, who may be more suited for implementation, and who may be best at planning.

Let communication drive your efforts

Delegation involves a healthy dose of communication. Deadlines, expectations, and results can vary wildly based on how everyone interprets things differently. As the team’s manager, it’s up to you to make certain that everyone from your leaders to your analysts to your sales team to your planners and more understand your expectations.

Let go of “I do” and transform it into “We do”

It’s an old cliche, but in this case, it rings truer than ever: there is no “I” in a team. Teamwork requires working together toward a common goal. Effective managers will learn to trust their team and it starts with understanding what makes your team unique. Through carefully observing how they work, you’ll start to see patterns within them. Those clues can help point you to potential skill set matches within your project’s needs. Of course, in-depth personality analysis can also help you recognize natural leaders on your team. And perhaps most importantly communication needs to be at the center of everything.

Delegating can be hard, but when you do it the right way, you’ll consistently see better results than doing it all on your own. Let go of “I do” and instead make your team more about “we do.” And as always, I’m here to help. If you need assistance sorting through your team’s personalities and how to best grow them through delegation, I’m just a short webform submission away. Contact me HERE and I’ll set up a time to speak with you soon.


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