Remember when your career depended on a leader to recognize your potential? They spent time with you to encourage your skills and talent. You are now in a better place because of the potential they saw in you. It’s time to pay it forward!
Your career growth resulted from managers who took a “leap of faith” in your development. They knew that it would take more time, and that mistakes would be made. They knew that they could do the job better than you, and that they would be required to answer a lot of questions while you were learning. But they did it anyway. They knew that you were a quick study with enormous potential and that the required investment in time would result in significant returns on that investment.
Now it is your turn to take a “leap of faith” with your team.
You are aware of the “excuses” that get in the way of delegation:
- It takes too long
- Mistakes will be made
- I can do it better myself
- There are too many questions during the process
- And a host of others
These excuses would likely be upheld in a court of law, but they shouldn’t get in the way of your delegation efforts! Try the following activities to energize your delegation efforts:
- A team of developed talent is an asset to effective delegation. Identify a list of 3-5 core skills that you wish for each team member to possess. Make them aware of the opportunity to add these skills as a yearly initiative designed to increase their versatility.
- Trust in your team is essential. Build the critical thinking skills of your team by requiring them to provide two potential solutions to every problem they bring to your attention. Let’s face it, you can solve all of their problems if they allow you to do so. Starting today, let your team know that you still have an open door policy. The only difference is they must pay a cover charge of two potential solutions for each problem they bring to you. Be prepared for the “deer in the headlights” look when they become aware of the “cover charge”. They can’t crash the car or sink the ship with their proposals, because you are there to provide the guidance needed for a successful resolution.
- Test your staff development performance by reviewing the team members who have benefited from your guidance. How many staff members have you developed to the extent that they have been promoted out of your department to assume a more challenging role? Challenge yourself with a clearly defined goal to develop your team members to the extent that they are in fact ready to assume a higher level of responsibility thanks to your dedicated efforts.
- Be professionally selfish. Understand that your growth will be inhibited until you have developed a team member who is prepared to assume your responsibilities upon your promotion. Assuming your responsibilities means a person who is capable of making things happen immediately, not a person who will simply keep the seat warm.
- Develop a comprehensive list of dedicated, energetic employees who left your organization because they were not given development opportunities. This loss of human capital can minimally be reduced, if not eliminated, by engaging in the steps suggested above.
When a team leader focuses on the ongoing development of every staff member, he is engaging in a practice that benefits the employee, the team leader and the organization at large. Take an active role in your management awareness to highlight how you effectively delegate.