Delegation vs Abdication OR Ignore it and it’ll go away!

Do you have way too much to do?

Does it seem there’s no way out from under your list of ideas and initiatives and growth strategies?

Is your team disengaged, and/or they rarely overwork?

Do you feel totally indispensable?

Are you sometimes making it the excuse for not having fun, or for not completing things?

Then you have a problem with delegation. By the way, if you simply don’t know how to change this, this blog is all you need. (I’ve never seen this be the case.) If, rather, you are trying to make up for what you think or feel you are supposed to be doing and aren’t, I suggest you dare to open the curtain and get honest with yourself about why you’re not doing it. Find help, now, before you squish your precious “widget”.

As I really couldn’t say it any better, I offer here the data I spoke of from Gallup ~

In 2014, Gallup studied the entrepreneurial talent profiles of 143 CEOs included on the Inc. 500 list, an annual ranking of America’s fastest-growing private companies. Collectively, the 2014 Inc. 500 CEOs experienced a median growth rate of 1,828%, while creating more than 46,000 jobs.

What’s intriguing, though, is the difference in business performance between Inc. 500 CEOs with high Delegator talent versus those with less of this talent. Of the 143 Inc. 500 CEOs Gallup surveyed, those with high Delegator talent posted an average three-year growth rate of 1,751% — 112 percentage points greater than those CEOs with limited or low Delegator talent.

CEOs with high Delegator talent also generated 33% greater revenue in 2013 than those with low or limited levels of the talent: $8 million versus $6 million, respectively. Greater growth and higher revenues also enabled these entrepreneurs to create more jobs at a faster rate. Companies led by those with high Delegator talent, on average, created 21 jobs in three years, compared with 17 new jobs in three years for those with lower levels of Delegator talent.

The business benefits of delegation aren’t exclusive to the Inc. 500 executives in Gallup’s study. When Gallup studied 1,446 employer entrepreneurs in the U.S. in 2014, 33% of those with high Delegator talent said they planned to significantly grow their business, compared with 21% of entrepreneurs with lower or limited Delegator talent who said the same. And 20% of employer entrepreneurs with high Delegator talent said they planned to increase their employee base by 5% or more in the next year, compared with 14% of entrepreneurs with lower or limited Delegator talent.

What Delegators Do Differently

The ability to delegate effectively is a fundamental managerial trait of successful entrepreneurs. Founders who are naturally effective Delegators are great managers and supportive bosses. Yet 75% of the employer entrepreneurs Gallup studied have limited-to-low levels of Delegator talent, jeopardizing their ability to build teams that can positively influence company performance. These executives struggle with people management, which greatly hampers their company’s potential growth.

Gallup identifies six key differences between leaders with high Delegator talent and those with lower or limited Delegator talent:

  • Delegators know that they can’t accomplish everything themselves. They are willing to relinquish control and hand tasks to others. This frees up their time to focus on activities that can yield the highest returns for the company. Non-Delegators — those with low or limited Delegator talent — can become so lost in day-to-day activities that they rarely have enough time to focus on actions vital to their company’s growth.
  • Delegators develop team capacity using a strengths-based approach. They take the time to understand what their people naturally do best, and then position them to take on tasks at which they are most likely to excel. This motivates and engages employees, increases productivity and benefits the entire business. Non-Delegators often don’t understand their employees’ strengths and capabilities, which leads them to push the proverbial square pegs into round holes.
  • Delegators ensure that employees have everything they need to do their jobs. They provide employees with tools, resources, training and learning opportunities; they genuinely care about each employee’s growth. Non-Delegators are impatient and unable to give employees everything they need to accomplish the tasks to which they are assigned.
  • Delegators focus on outcomes, not processes. They set clear expectations about everything from timing to budget to deliverables, and they monitor progress, affecting employee commitment, boosting morale and influencing company performance. Non-Delegators micromanage and fail to set clear expectations, leaving employees confused and frustrated in their work.
  • Delegators encourage new ideas and approaches to accomplishing goals. They foster psychological ownership and engagement among employees by giving them autonomy to achieve their goals. Non-Delegators do not trust others to do things as well as they themselves can. They hinder growth by centralizing and controlling decision-making at every turn.
  • Delegators communicate frequently with employees. They provide feedback about what works and what doesn’t, and they recognize employees for a job well done, all fostering an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Non-Delegators don’t provide constructive feedback, but rather they are quick to assign blame. This can demoralize employees and create a dysfunctional environment that hampers productivity and growth.

The full article can be found here.

OK ~

Below is borrowed from Amy Gallo on HBR.org as she’s dug up a few really good resources and I want to give her credit.

What the Experts Say

Delegation is a critical skill. “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off,” says Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business and author of What Were They Thinking?: Unconventional Wisdom About Management. Delegation benefits managers, direct reports, and organizations. Yet it remains one of the most underutilized and underdeveloped management capabilities. A 2007 study on time management found that close to half of the 332 companies surveyed were concerned about their employees’ delegation skills. At the same time, only 28% of those companies offered any training on the topic. “Most people will tell you they are too busy to delegate — that it’s more efficient for them to just do it themselves,” says Carol Walker, the president of Prepared to Lead, a consulting firm that focuses on developing young leaders. But both Walker and Pfeffer agree that it’s time to drop the excuses. Here’s how.

OK ~

Why

Do you work in an organization where stuff is more valued than energy? Where your management skills are viewed as secondary to the output of your department? This is common and crappy. Can you educate your senior officers? Can you ignore them and learn to work with your team anyway?

Are you perfectionists? Do you argue it’s easier to do everything yourself? Or, that your work is better than others’? Got over it! Even if it’s true, who cares other than you? Your alienating people by insulting them and driving yourself into an early grave with the stress. Done beats perfectly incomplete EVERY DAY! And in this day speed and constant transitions, done is by far preferable because something is going to change in a day.

Are you deeply insecure about your ability to do your job? Is it because you’re underqualified or because you’re somehow stupid or broken. See, in print looks pretty goofy, right. Or mean. Not meant to be. I just want you to look at your why so you see that you’re bigger than any “why you can’t” ever will be.

No matter how self-aware you think you are (and might very well be,) don’t assume that you’re immune to these biases and more. Actively review your delegation and communication regularly. Consider others’ opinions too. Do not ask, “How am I at…” instead ask, “How could I improve at…” The first questions brings a judgmental and separatist conversation to the fore. The second, one of inclusion and support.

Then What?

Measure and don’t discount feelings.

Choose the right people for your team.

Integrate delegation into what you and they already do. Create or use some tools like calendars, lists, excel, and scoreboards to keep you pacing and supporting your people. For them, give them something in writing with details. Add the projects, initiatives or new goals to their Impact Agreements (or whatever you call your employment packages) and help them as much as you can.

Work at holding each other accountable and give your team permission to call you out if you slack or fail to do as you said you would.

Have fun and kick some butt!


Also published on Medium.

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