Delegation is a measure of leadership. As the world gets more used to working remotely, companies and managers are compelled to rethink the way that they lead. Part of that criteria is how company leaders delegate work to get things done. On one end of the spectrum, managers who fail to delegate work or micromanage tasks fail to develop and train their subordinates. On the other hand, managers who assign work but fail to supervise it risk losing sight of their work objectives and the performance of their employees. Learning how to properly delegate work is a reflection of leadership. It’s an essential skill that strengthens company culture and teamwork, develops individual skills and experiences, and, most importantly, gets the job done.
So, why do people fail to delegate?
A lot of experts like to offer different explanations. Sometimes, people think that it takes more work to talk and explain the work to subordinates than to do the job themselves. Others believe that managers either don’t trust their subordinates or feel a need to make themselves indispensable. These reasons are signs of bigger issues at hand. Delegation is a litmus for a manager’s leadership abilities. So, when managers are not delegating the work, it’s because they don’t know how.
By delegating work, managers lead by example. The optimize the company’s time and human resources. And in a world where remote work is becoming all the more the norm, delegation is not only preferrable. It’s vital. Here are five reasons why managers and people in leadership roles should learn how to delegate work.
Reason One: During a global pandemic? You have no choice but to delegate.
If you’ve never imagined deconstructing your work across several zip codes, you certainly know now. One of the key things in making remote work work is being able to delegate responsibilities.
For companies with experience in outsourcing, delegating is nothing new. They recognize that it’s impossible (and quite costly!) to try and do everything on your own. They outsource jobs and tasks for many reasons unique to the needs of each company. Generally, they do it to strategically manage their time and resources. One of the crucial steps to outsourcing strategically is to map out your talent pool—which is equally relevant when you’re learning how to delegate.
Mapping out your talent pool just means getting to know the people on your team beyond their skill set and competencies. Find out their work and home situation. Gauge their work ethics. Take note of their relationship and rapport with their office peers. Focus on their strengths and figure out how to leverage that to your projects and campaigns. At the heart of things, mapping out your talent pool makes it easier for you to trust the people you work with.
Which is, after all, at the heart of delegation. Managers and leaders entrust the work to their subordinates. They are not just giving their people something to do. They are sharing responsibilities. By branching out the work, managers are able to create a map of accountability. They deepen the creative wells. In doing so, they encourage everyone not just to bring their best to the table, but also give the employees a stake in the company’s growth and welfare.
Reason Two: Delegating work is a long-term plan.
Oh, yeah. Experts say around 70% of the workforce is going to be working remotely by 2025. Which means remote work is here to stay—for good.
According to Christie Lee, the CEO and founder of Nourishing Food Marketing, it’s critical to have a long-term outlook. Whether they’re shifting from brick-or-mortar to an online store, or they’re changing their branding strategies to keep up with the current changes in the market, companies have to keep their eyes on their long-term objectives.
“You don’t start selling into brick-and-mortar retail for six months and make a profit. Likewise, you don’t start your e-commerce store or sell into Amazon for six months and say, ‘After the pandemic’s over, I’m not going to do this anymore.'” Lee explained.
“Everything takes investment. Everything that you do should meet your business objectives.”
That includes delegating.
With remote work here to stay, it’s important for companies to consider that they’re delegating not just to get the job done. Delegating work does not only build leadership skills on the part of the managers and leaders. It also develops the skills and enhances the experience of their employees. In addition, it also helps institutionalize processes that work and rule out the ones that don’t.
Delegating work is setting up your business for long-term growth.
Reason Three: Nurturing trust benefits the company.
According to experts, delegating improves an employee’s sense of worth.
“Delegating responsibility is a powerful statement to employees about how much they are trusted and how competent and valued they are considered to be the company,” according to Sam Lloyd, the President of Success Systems, Inc.
Subsequently, this sense of trust bolsters company culture. When a good leader clarifies the roles and responsibilities of their employees, they nurture trust, and foster interdependence. Which are essential to company culture, especially in the remote work landscape.
Companies are often advised to turn to productivity tools and communication applications to fill the distance and augment business operations. And yet technology can only take you so far.
Trust and company culture are essential assets.
Alex Bayer, the CEO of Genius Juice, says that his company has been able to adjust to the quarantine in part because they were already working remotely before. But he also adds that the key thing to making it easy are the relationships between employees.
“You all have to like each other to work well together. We’re all very tight knit, which has been hugely beneficial for Genius Juice,” says Bayer, “We all have a common goal, which is to grow the brand and grow the company.”
Delegating aligns goals by building trust and enhancing networks of reliance and responsibilities. Most of all, it contributes to a stronger company culture.
Reason Four: Managers get to focus on more important responsibilities.
In terms of purpose, delegating shares a lot in common with outsourcing.
Outsourcing enables business managers to work strategically.
It gives businesses the opportunity to grow. When it is otherwise unaffordable for companies to hire someone full-time, or to undertake an expensive project, outsourcing provides a strategic solution. By outsourcing, companies are able to offload essential roles to external experts while staying lean to focus on what they do best.
Similarly, delegating helps managers prioritize and focus.
When they delegate certain responsibilities to somebody else on their team, they’re able to focus on things that require their time and expertise. At the same time, they’re helping develop the skills and experiences of their subordinates. That pays off in the long-term when these subordinates grow into their own and build up the company.
For emerging companies working remotely, delegating helps manage work efficiently across spaces by giving managers and supervisors the room to focus on things they need to do to grow.
Reason Five: Delegating develops leaders by example.
Arguably, the most important thing that delegating does is foster leadership skills.
Delegating encourages managers to get to know the people they work with. Their skills, their talents, their strategies and work ethics. That in-depth knowledge helps managers lead their teams better. It is especially important and valuable in a remote work space to know who to call or who to rely on.
But managers are not the only ones who gain the opportunity to develop their leadership skills.
Employees get to prove themselves and their ability to play a more vital role in the ogranization. When they undertake new responsibilities, they grow in skill and experience, and they gain the confidence to make their own calls.
All in all, delegating is a win-win for everybody. It makes leaders out of employees and better ones out of managers and supervisors. It nurtures trust and improves team work, and enables the company to use its resources efficiently. The long-term pay-off is that companies get to grow not just its productivity baseline, but also the substance and the culture of its people.