Delegation: Can it be more than getting tasks done?

If you have been a leader for any length of time you have been delegating. You cannot lead without delegating. You are already doing it — now how can you get the most of it? The greatest impact of delegating is moving beyond simply getting the tasks done. The power of delegating is found in developing your people to believe in themselves, take ownership of outcomes and grow in their own leadership. 

In this series, I have been sharing about my first failure in delegation because I genuinely saw it as making assignments for someone else to do. My approach contributed to humbly accepting her resignation and starting over from scratch with a new hire. In hindsight, I learned so many things about delegation. It is, in fact, giving assignments. 

However, if you stop there you may repeat the same mistake I did. Instead, it’s also . . . 

Ultimately, it is about creating a delegation partnership that includes assigning tasks, and it is so much more than that. Many of the nonprofit and small business leaders I work with can’t offer a “corporate ladder” to climb. What they can offer is diversity of projects, breadth of responsibilities and opportunities for growth that can keep their people and teams engaged. 

When you delegate effectively, you are helping them grow. Additionally, you are also helping the organization grow. Teams that engage in the delegation partnership are able to …

  • Engage employees in tasks and activities that they are motivated to do
  • Utilize growing in knowledge and responsibility as a benefit that helps position them for future work
  • Build the leadership pipeline by equipping them for greater responsibility and influence
  • Promote inclusion and diversity of thought that brings together the team’s creativity and innovative ideas 
  • Convey trust and create a collaborative culture of working together effectively

“People and organizations don’t grow much without delegation … because they are confined to the capacities of the boss [which] reflect both personal strengths and weaknesses.

~Stephen Covey

Next Steps:

Find a block of time to regularly engage in thinking about how you want your people to grow. . Then, find the right environment to think about growth strategies >> a space free of distractions and interruptions. Finally, ask yourself these questions and dream a little bit about how you can match the growth needs of the organization with the growth goals of your people. 

  1. What projects will need to get done for the organization to grow? Pick your top three projects that if they do get done will tangibly expand on mission, funding or services you provide. 
  2. How might your capabilities be holding you back? There are some things you do well. There are some things you think you do well. There are some things you know you don’t do well. Think about these three groups and really pay attention to the “things you think you do well” as areas you may need to delegate more so the organization can grow.
  3. What are the areas where my people need or want to grow? You may see areas where you would like your people to contribute more. You may also want to schedule a delegation conversation with your people to find out what new tasks motivate them.

If in your response to these 3 questions you can find the intersection of these three areas, then the potential to ignite growth in you, your people and the organization can have a multiplying effect on results. Delegating has the potential for everyone to grow and accelerate the impact beyond what is currently being achieved. 

That doesn’t mean that it will be easy. There’s a lot of nuts and bolts to this “delegating” thing. We will tackle these in the next few blogs which will focus on how to hand off new responsibilities. Need a working strategy a little sooner? Set up a FREE 30 minute strategy session and we can design your delegation conversation together.

Share:

Posted in

Annie Perdue Olson

Annie is founder of Leading Better Together, guiding leaders through the relationship and people challenges that sidetrack ministry. With 20+ years of experience in nonprofit management and pastoral ministry she equips people and teams to work better together. She holds a Master of Arts in Human Resources and Change Leadership from St. Thomas University and received her coaching certification from the Center for Coaching Excellence.

Leave a Comment