When Is It the Right Time to Let Others Take the Wheel?

Handing over the reins. Letting others take the wheel. Passing the baton.

They’re all idioms for a concept that many leaders resist: delegating.

But while relinquishing control of tasks, projects or functions may make you uncomfortable, it’s essential to your company’s success. After all, your ability to grow others’ management and leadership capabilities faster than your competitors’ is a considerable source of competitive advantage. And the only way to develop your team’s leadership abilities is by – you guessed it – handing over the wheel.

Delegation provides myriad benefits for your organization, from freeing up your time and promoting employee development to driving productivity and teamwork. But when, exactly, is it the right time to share power and decision-making? And how can you start the process?

Here are a few tips for building a “leader-leader” culture with effective delegation:

Identify the right things to be accomplished through others.

Use these criteria to determine which tasks or responsibilities are ripe for delegation:

  • Lower priority tasks. Handing off B- and C-level (i.e., high effort, low-skill) tasks will give you more time to focus on your most impactful work.
  • Recurring tasks. Do you perform the same jobs daily, weekly, or monthly? If so, it may make sense to train one of your direct reports to do them.
  • Responsibilities outside your area of expertise. Examine your role to identify what you’re best at – and what’s most essential to your position. Then, create a plan to transition your other responsibilities to employees with more expertise in those areas. It’ll free up more of your time and help you get work done more efficiently and effectively.
  • Functions that grow leadership skills. Give burgeoning managers a chance to shine and feel more valuable by training them to take over areas that broaden or deepen their management skills.

Choose the right people.

Not every employee is a candidate for management or company leadership. Spend your time developing the right people by selecting individuals who:

  • Have the ability and desire to learn.
  • Have expressed interest in taking on more responsibility and decision-making.
  • Want to take on new challenges and be pushed outside their comfort zone.
  • Are trustworthy and self-sufficient.
  • Currently have the capacity – or can create the bandwidth – to take on higher-level work.

Be sure to share your “why.”

If you simply begin shifting responsibilities to your team members’ plates without framing why you’re doing so, your intentions may be misinterpreted. Carefully explain the reasons and benefits for building a leader-leader culture:

  • Developing current and future leaders.
  • Broadening and deepening your team’s skills.
  • Increasing productivity and passion by shifting tasks to those best suited for them.
  • Building higher performing teams and a more competitive business.

Articulating the reasons, you’re delegating and the benefits to be gained will increase employee buy-in, inspire commitment and foster the right culture.

Then, get it off your plate.

In this post, we share the steps for creating a sound, repeatable process for delegation.

Need more time to focus on your high-priority work?

You actually may be able to do it all yourself – but that doesn’t mean you should! If you want to delegate, but don’t have the internal resources, give your local PrideStaff office a call. We’ll provide the right people and solutions to improve your personal and organizational performance dramatically.