President Ronald Reagan once said, "Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don't interfere as long as the policy you've decided upon is being carried out."
But for many leaders, delegation is a real, actual struggle. So many times, we see delegation in two lights:
- If I delegate this, people will think I am trying to get out of work or that I'm being lazy. And no one follows a lazy leader.
- I can't delegate this because it's too important and someone else can't do this at the same level that I can.
While there are times where these excuses might be valid, more times than not our lack of delegation is an issue with us as leaders, instead of the people, volunteers, or employees in our organization.
So if we're supposed to delegate, what should we as leaders be delegating. MOST leaders delegate tasks. They simply hand of something from their over-stuffed to-do-list to someone in the organization. But GREAT leaders delegate more than tasks.
3 Things Great Leaders Delegate
#1: Authority. Great leaders realize that you can't just delegate a to-do list. If you want to put your people in a place to succeed, you have to delegate authority as well. A task list without the authority to accomplish the mission of the organization while completing those tasks is a recipe for disaster.
#2: Responsibility. Great leaders also understand that you must delegate responsibility. If we delegate tasks, but anytime failure is at the doorstep, we become a "run-to-the-rescue" leader, then we're not allowing the people in our organization to really grow as leaders. We have to be willing to delegate responsibility, and place that responsibility for success and failure in the hands of those who follow us.
#3: Praise. Far beyond tasks, authority, and responsibility, great leaders understand that the most important thing we can delegate as leaders is praise. When delegation takes place and the outcome is a win, great leaders are sure to pass the praise down, making sure those they lead receive credit for a job well done.
Pastor Andy Stanley puts it this way: Don’t strive to be a well-rounded leader. Instead, discover your zone and stay there. Then delegate everything else.
As leaders, we have to learn that delegation is dynamite that can explode our organizations to the next level by allowing others to take ownership. So don't just delegate "stuff"...delegate the right stuff!