There is a temptation among some well-intentioned leaders and otherwise competent executives, to feel that delegation of authority is somehow neglecting their own position. Leaders can sometimes feel wary passing along duties to direct reports because they feel they can “handle it themselves just fine,” that it might be mishandled by someone else, or that they simply feel it’s unnecessary or even rude asking someone else to do these particular things.
But understanding delegation and duty distribution as empowering to the individuals you entrust with those decisions and tasks, will make you realize that empowering direct reports is satisfying.
One of the best ways to view your direct reports in an empowering light is to remember that they are a reflection and a testament to your own success as a manager. If you hold them back through your own fears and limited thinking, or through your inability to delegate and trust them to perform, it will reflect on you even worse than the occasional failures that do occur as a result of regular delegation.
Also, in the long run, you want to empower your direct reports to someday take on a leadership role such as your own. You need to ask yourself if the example you’re setting will empower them to become a good leader themselves? Obviously you would hope that if they were ever in the position, particularly within your own company, that they would be a leader who empowers their direct reports, so it benefits and empowers you both to remember to be one yourself.
People remember this type of empowering leadership. In Harvard Business Review, Russell Sy talks about and compliments this characteristic of his direct supervisor, and says that “constantly observing her delegate, motivate, and manage for results has taught me a lot.”
This is the effect of empowering management in action. This creates a culture of self-perpetuating empowerment, and encourages employees to feel valued and to return this in kind with loyalty and better performance.
Contrast this with the fact that according to a Gallup study, “about 50% of the 7,200 adults surveyed left a job ‘to get away from their manager.’” In this same survey these employees said they felt “like they’re given little guidance for understanding what’s expected of them,” with only 12% saying they felt they were given priorities, and some form of goal-setting and expectations.
All of this underscores how important it is to intelligently delegate to empower your direct reports. This helps ensure that you’re leaving both them and you satisfied with the leadership lineage you’ve provided, rather than them leaving the company with the feeling they were never empowered there to begin with.
Is lack of Delegation one of those bad habits that you might not be noticing? As your MGSSC Executive/leadership Coach, I can help you identify unrecognized habits that might be keeping you from getting to the next level. If you are ready to take your career to the next level, schedule a complimentary session at calendly.com/angela-grosvenor or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.