If you do not delegate some of your work, you are not only limiting your impact, but you are also withholding opportunities and fun from others. Delegation is not about you not doing the things on your list. It is about making it a team effort to go beyond the list and achieve great things and an exercise in humility.
Humility is not thinking less of yourself, it’s thinking of yourself less.CS Lewis
Delegation is more than handing off work or putting employees to work. Delegation done right results in a net positive increase in productivity, happiness, impact, and a feeling of being into it together. Delegation is not about freeing up your time. It is about making other people grow.
Do people hate extra work?
You might be fearful that the one on the receiving end will despise you since you are handing off work. But will they? Have you checked with them how they think about picking some items up from your list? Maybe it is not even an item yet, but it is just a thought you had, you have not explored yet, and now they have the joy of exploring.
As long as the delegation is not dumping, most people will enjoy it when you think of them for exciting opportunities. It is an opportunity to do something they usually do not do. It is likely something new (please do not delegate the menial tasks to the same people repeatedly) and do exciting things.
Does it spark joy?
Though “Does it spark joy?”, as modern philosophers would ask? The delegatee could be happy, but are you? Please write it down how you feel. Write down everything you delegate and how you feel about it. First of all, you might discover your list is too short and might want to delegate more. Keep in mind that delegating is less about you and your work. It is about the others and how you help them grow.
What happens if you are unhappy about delegating, but the one you delegated to is ecstatic? Can you take one for the team? Since if that person’s happiness is +2 and yours is -1, net happiness just increased in your team. Though be careful, since net happiness might be positive, it doesn’t mean that you should go into the red and be unhappy.
Trust is better than filtering
Do not filter work in detail before delegating. Have that conversation with people if they believe they can do it. It is not what you think. If they feel they can do it, let them at it. If they can’t, be there to support and let them learn. Happy little surprises happen if they can. Let them happen. Do not micro-manage or monitor. People know it when you are staring over their shoulder, even when virtual. Do agree; however, you stay in touch and can support them. Since delegation is not dumping, you still want to stay connected.
Delegate sidewards and upwards
Delegation is not a hierarchical activity. It does not just work passing from the top to the bottom. If you are good at delegating, you delegate sidewards and upwards. And all the same, suggestions apply:
- List what you delegate and how it makes you feels
- Agree on what good might look like together
- Trust the judgement of others
- Agree on how to stay informed (if needed) while you empowers others
Delegation is not easy. You give up control of something you know you can do (and do very well). However, you provide other people with the opportunity to grow, to do something they like and in some cases: to pick up the things you do not have time for.
Get comfortable with the uneasiness of delegation and enjoy increasing your impact by sharing work with others and giving others a new opportunity to make more impact and increase their visibility.