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Delegating Effectively

May 24, 2014

Delegate4Delegation continues to be a bugbear, not just for leaders themselves but equally so for organizations, since it has so much to do with developing the next line. While most leaders intellectually understand the need to delegate and the value it brings for themselves and the organization, it is emotions that hold them back from effective delegation.

So I thought I’d jot down the 2 core principles of delegation, in the hope that they might be of assistance to leaders who’d like to get better at delegation.


The 2 principles of Delegation:

1. Delegate what you fear to delegate or what you believe you can’t delegate. Delegating only what you are able to delegate means you are delegating what you believe your DRs can do. Which addresses present skills. It is only when you delegate what you are worried about delegating that you are developing people. This does not mean you should delegate things that you should be doing per se. The fist step is to identify things that you SHOULD NOT be doing, but you don’t delegate because of discomfort or anxiety.

2. When you delegate, know that the delegate will fail. If it’s the first time they’re doing something, they are likely to not do it as well as you. Be prepared to back them up. When they fail, don’t take it back or take control. When someone rides a bicycle for the first time, they will fall. When they fall, you encourage them, give some correctional/supporting inputs and put them back on the bicycle.
Delegate 1Follow that principle. Again and again and again. As long as the delegate is willing, has the gumption to continue and the learning agility to not repeat the same mistakes again and again. You need to continue supporting them.


Are there other core principles to delegation that you yourself use? Do share them as comments so we can all be wiser!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Shiv Iyer permalink
    May 29, 2014 9:05 pm

    The other thing to consider is to delegate when it is not on the critical path otherwise you end up doing some of the work.

    Great article – thanks.

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