There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week. As a leader, one of the most important skills you can cultivate is knowing when you take a task on yourself and when to delegate it to someone else.
Delegating responsibilities is not a symptom of laziness or ineffectiveness. It’s a way to prioritize your time while allowing others on your team to rise to the challenge and expand their skills. It’s also a way to show you trust your team to contribute, in an important way, on a big project.
If you’ve ever wondered whether you’re delegating enough, that’s usually an indication you’re not.
Here are some other signs to look for.
1. Small tasks are taking up big chunks of your time.
Are you spending more time in routine meetings, discussing details for the third, fourth, or fifth time? When someone has a question, are you the only person they come to for advice and guidance? Are you the point person on all current projects? If any of these sound familiar, it’s time to take stock and look around. Find members of your team that you know are competent and capable and designate them as the person in charge of a meeting, or a project, or a task. Then find another person and do the same. Divvy up the work and get more time back in your day.
2. You’re not sure who the leaders are on your team.
When was the last time you came up for air and assessed the skills of the people who work with and for you? Do you know who the standout employees are? Are you not sure whether anyone excels because you’re too busy doing all the work? Take a look around and observe your employees. See who’s trying to get ahead and who’s slacking off. Reward the hard workers and recognize their ambition by letting them take more responsibility and coach others toward better utilizing their skills.
3. Deadlines are flying by, but no one ever asks for extensions.
Is your team hitting their expectations? Or are things turned in late, if at all? If you’re the reason work is getting done, and all deadlines are being made, that’s a problem. If no one else is being held responsible for anything, how will they ever take pride in their work?
4. You’re stressed, but no one else seems to be.
If there’s more water cooler conversation than a discussion of projects and assignments, that means people don’t have enough work to do to keep them busy, focused, and on task. But if the work’s still getting done, someone’s doing more than their share. Is that person you? That shouldn’t be the case! Reassign jobs, divide responsibilities, reset deadlines and make sure everyone has their fair share of work to do — including you.
5. You don’t have much support.
If you needed to miss a day at work due to illness or family emergency, do you know who would step up to help out? Is there anyone you’d trust to do the job correctly and on time? If you’re not sure, that’s a good indication it’s time to start handing off responsibility to someone else.
6. Your team stopped asking for advice.
Along with never asking for a deadline extension, employees who don’t want advice or guidance on how to complete a project, or check in with you on the bigger picture from time to time, probably aren’t invested or challenged enough. Employees who want to succeed and move up in the world will want to improve continually and will ask for more responsibilities. Those are the employees who deserve to take on additional work and the ones you should trust.
It’s hard to permit yourself to work a little less. But it’s a sign of strength and wisdom to know when it’s time to tap someone on the shoulder and bring them along for the journey by giving them more responsibility.
Make a Change with LeadingEdge Personnel
If you’re ready to make a change, or if you’re looking for new team members to help share the workload, contact LeadingEdge. We’re prepared to help you find highly skilled, eager new employees who want to bring value to your team and help you learn to come up for air.