The Reward of Delegation

If you’re responsible for other people, you know there are a lot of demands on your time.

You can’t possibly do everything. Jimmy Carter tried to put his hand into every pot back in the seventies and recorded one of the worst presidencies ever. A business owner who will not delegate responsibility to those in the trenches will stunt and forever limit his company’s growth. It’s the same as expecting one pack of matches to light a hundred cigarettes. The only way that will work is if you light some of the cigarettes with others that are already lit.
If you smoke five cigarettes every time you light a match, you’ll steal time from yourself and probably end up with a wig, false teeth, and a tracheotomy.
Leaders at level four have to share the load. People development requires that you hand off responsibility and accountability to those who can do the work almost as well as you can. For example, if your company had stores, you can’t be at all of them all the time. Someone there has to be responsible for results. Even then that person has to have assistants. He can’t work a hundred hours every week. When you pass the baton to that team, your responsibility becomes that of an auditor and a coach. You check the critical measurements to see how productive your leaders are. Then you can tailor your coaching to address those areas where improvement is needed.
When you delegate effectively, the greatest gift a competent team under your charge can give you is time. The larger your responsibility, the more time you need to spend thinking through things that matter. Some of this you’ll do yourself. Other times you’ll need to talk with your team and walk the floors so you can better appreciate what they’re facing.
Lest you think people development is all about criticism and coaching, let me set you straight. People function better in an atmosphere of appreciation than they do when all they hear is criticism. You’ve got to have balance. When they do something well, tell them! In fact, tell them in public. If you want them to respond well to what you want, don’t be manipulative with praise. Back up anything you say with facts so you’ll be credible.
Be practical. Empower your people to be their best and you’ll lead larger.