Effective Delegation Is a Key Leadership Skill

Why do you delegate work? Let’s face it, most often we delegate work because we simply need help. We have competing priorities, time is short, and there is too much work to be done. That happens to all of us at one time or another.

Why don’t you delegate work? Insecurity can often drive us to hoard the resources and knowledge we’ve gained through our experiences. Instead of sharing that value and allowing others to help us – and growing in the process – we hold on tightly even when that means a deadline might be pushed or quality might suffer.

Neither of the above scenarios demonstrates quality leadership behaviors. The most effective leaders, however, know that delegation is a key tool in the proverbial leadership toolbox.

Appropriate, thoughtful delegation creates numerous opportunities for success:

  • It helps prepare others for future responsibility as they develop new skills, gain new knowledge and expand their contacts.
  • It can increase motivation and commitment of the person/team to whom a challenge was given (with appropriate direction, resources and follow up).
  • It can help improve responsiveness to customers as more people understand more organizational processes and can more quickly solve problems.
  • It can, ultimately, elevate your impact as your effectiveness increases and you are given more complex responsibilities.

The most important responsibility of a leader is to develop other leaders. Typically, this is accomplished through coaching, the “how to do” of the work; and through mentoring, the “how to be” of presence. Delegation offers another method that takes the doing and the being and ties them to professional and organizational growth and excellence.

There is both an art and a science to delegation. The art is the choices we make; the who, what and when of delegation. The science is the why and the how. The Alber Enterprise Center can help your leaders understand the difference, develop the skill and apply it through the workshop, The Art and Science of Effective Delegation. For more information, call 740-725-6325 or email alber@osu.edu.