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Leadership skills: How delegation works

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Leadership Skills
This article is based on the free eBook "Leadership Skills"

The word delegation brings up different pictures for different people. But in terms of leadership skills, delegation is a very important thing that you should learn to do well. But, when does delegation actually work?

Before you know for certain whether a project is something that you can delegate, you’ll want to explore several questions about the type of task or project, the frequency of it, and the risk that delegation might entail. Questions could include: Is the task likely to be needed again in the future? Do you have the time that it will take in order to delegate effectively? Is this a task that I can afford to delegate? Or, am I comfortable with the risk that I am taking in delegating?


When people decide not to delegate a task

To look at this from another point of view, there are also reasons that people decide not to delegate a task or project. One common reason is that you might think it is easier to do it yourself. That’s because it takes some work up-front in order for you to be able to delegate. Sure, in the short-term, it might have been faster for you to do it yourself. But once you have established a delegating relationship with your employee, it will take less time as you continue to do it.


Focus on the ‘big picture’

Another reason people don’t like to delegate is because they are afraid of losing control over the project that they are ultimately responsible for completing successfully. You have to ask yourself where your skills are best put to use. As the leader, focusing on individual projects is usually not the best use of your time. You can delegate the individual tasks, keeping your mind on the overall strategy and direction of the ‘big picture’. You’ll need to learn to balance the desire to keep control over every bit of a project with the understanding that in the long-run, you can be more effective as a leader and as a team if you learn to delegate well.


Not every single job is mission-critical

In general, the more mission-critical a job is, the less likely it is one that you should delegate. But if you have a tendency to view every single job as mission-critical, you need to re-examine your ideas. There are certain to be tasks in every job that are less critical than others, or that are less bound by time.  Start small, and gradually you’ll build confidence in your team’s abilities and in your own ability to delegate successfully.


If you want to learn more about this topic and further characteristics of leaders read “Leadership Skills” written by MTD Training.