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  • Writer's pictureTony Richards

The Pain of Delegating

This week I’m in the process of engaging a physical fitness trainer to help me with the exercise goals of my health plan. I know to get where I want to be, there will be a certain amount of physical pain that I will have to endure. When I work with leaders, I try to stress to them that in order to get where they want to be, there will be a certain amount of pain they will have to endure. That pain is emotional pain. The pain of resisting how we’ve always done it in order to do it a different way.

For leaders are are acccustomed to being in charge, this is a new kind of pain. The pain of delegating. If our organization is growing, that means change. We learn we can’t do everything ourselves. In addition, there are a couple different generations in the workforce at this current time. Baby Boomers are used to being in control, so delegating can be hard for this generation. The more delegation, the more out of control they are, and the greater the chances for something to go wrong.

Leaders can fall into the trap of feeling as if we rise or fall based on our own actions. However, this can just simply mask the pain of doing it ourselves. Guess what, we can’t do it all alone! We will never live up to our perfectionist ideas! Also, we tend to excuse ourselves and our work more than others anyway.

There are people willing to help if we are also willing. Willing to endure the pain of delegating. If a leader continues to hold on when they should let go, they will eventually be pulled into the swirling current and drown. Always avoid people who cannot let go. People who are drowning will always grab, snatch and attempt to take others down with them. Leaders who have not learned to delegate effectively are needy and clinging.

Pain is always a question of trade-off. The pain of working ineffectively or the pain of growth when you delegate effectively.

Delegation is the assignment of authority to another person to carry out effectively the specific job-related activities. It allows one of your people to make decisions. Delegation is not task assignment. Task assignment is simply assigning work to an individual which is associated with their duties and responsibilities. Delegation is giving the person the same authority as the leader to do something that normally the leader would do themselves in their position. That’s quite a difference, right?

Remember, delegation is a transfer of authority, but not responsibility. The leader does not abdicate the responsibility, just because they have delegated the mission and authority. You must establish controls, parameters and checkpoints along the way to monitor progress of the project or mission.

Effective delegation can help you:

  1. Reduce stress

  2. Build, Develop and Empower future leaders

  3. Frees you to work on more impactful, new opportunities

  4. Develops trust and rapport among your team

  5. Possibly grooms your successor as you position yourself for your next higher level assignment

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