Delegation is a highly effective way to increase efficiency, build new skills, motivate and inspire followers. Notionally, this in turn frees up time and allows the leader to operate at a visionary and  strategic level that is asked of them in the leadership role they’ve been anointed.  Effective delegation is a core concept that highly effective leaders have mastered.

If however delegation has been executed poorly, team members who have been ‘delegated’ to may experience frustration, lack of confidence and confusion. Disengagement may prevail and as a result performance may suffer at best or in the  worst case a valued employee may become a flight risk or even leave without much notice.

The root cause is often related to the way the delegating manager continues to unwittingly lead with a competitive, perfectionistic, approval orientated or avoidant mindset. These styles are often manifest in the following ways:

  • Lack of confidence in ability of direct reports;
    • Micromanagement
    • Does most things him / herself
  • Lack of trust in direct reports;
    • Doesn’t pass on the authority
  • Worried about what senior managers will think if work is:
    • Not completed or
    • Fails to be at an acceptable standard

Effective delegation is something that you can be learnt. However it’s not a straight forward “horizontal” / skill based learning experience! Rather it often requires a “vertical” / developmental  learning experience to occur before a leader can truly become an effective delegator.  Leadership Coaching is a highly effective approach to facilitate vertical learning and so help managers to overcome the common thinking styles that constrain and / or restrain effective delegation.

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