As leaders, we are never without an opinion to share, are we? What is the one word of wisdom we impart on new leaders, without fail? Delegate. It is our mantra. Delegate, delegate, delegate. This is so easy for us to say yet it can be very difficult for new leaders to do.
New leaders feel tremendous pressure to deliver. They own the responsibility entrusted to them and don't take this lightly. If delegating was simply about assigning tasks to others, we would not be having this conversation, but it's not.
What is delegating really about? Think about that for a moment and then click over to my post, Leadership Means Letting Go, on the HCI blog (login required). Go now and come back when you are done.
Daniel Fogel, Talent Strategy and Acquisition over at HCI summed up my message perfectly when he shared his experience in developing leaders, "I found new leaders with the mentality that they could do "the task" better than their team. That letting the team complete the task would be a drop in quality. It took some coaching to get the new leaders to understand the one of the main points about being a leader is developing their team and protégés."
Delegating is about letting go and that is where the challenge for leaders exists.
Daniel agrees, "At the beginning you definitely have to crawl before you can walk. But by focusing on the development of the skills, you can create a team who does the task perfect every time not just the times that the leader does it themselves. If they focused on the development, they could have a department full of leaders who "own" their work."
Want to know a secret? This challenge is not limited to new leaders. I've had this leadership gig for a long time and am facing the same challenges right now. I added a level of leadership into my department and my hesitancy to let go of some things took me by surprise. I haven't let go completely but I do know what I need to do.
What advice do you have leaders having a hard time letting go? What worked well for you?