Delegating for excellence

Written on June 17, 2024

The most challenging thing that I had to overcome when I first stepped into a management role was learning to delegate to others.

I’m not sure if it’s from being a firstborn child or that I was overconfident in my own abilities.

But the excuse I kept giving myself was if I do it, I could do it quicker or better.

What ended up happening was, I was stressed out and would do a half-baked job.

This was because I didn’t take into account that being a manager means you’re also in a position of leadership and leadership has different requirements. Often meetings where your decisions are needed.

When I failed to delegate, I would have very little time to execute on the task because I’m in meetings. Going deep in a single problem also requires a lot of energy which meant if I had tried to squeeze work in between meetings, I’d show up in meetings exhausted.

It wasn’t until a former manager of mine saw that I had taken a task upon myself instead of delegating and asked what I was taking away as a result of not delegating, that I saw the true cost of holding onto a problem.

It wasn’t easy, but the first time I really delegated, I went to my colleague and confessed that I sucked at the task I had on hand and I deeply needed help.

Immediately I saw them go into action and within an hour they had come up with a plan to get the project on track.

The result?

I was super excited because I was astonished how excellent my colleague was at their job. I had reinvigorated energy because the burden was alleviated and I knew the task was in better hands.

This allowed me to do what I was tasked to do which was provide strategy and make decisions.

The lesson I learned was that, delegation isn’t moving your burden and making it someone else’s. It’s an opportunity to empower your colleague and allowing the task to get the best outcome possible.

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