What if it were easy for you to entrust important things to others?
Would this leave room for you to grow? For you to take on new challenges? For you to contribute at a much higher level?
Now, imagine that you discovered the secret to make this happen. Because you just did.
I’m going to explain it to you.
Look, it’s hard to let go. I get that.
But it’s the only way to grow.
So it makes sense for you to figure out how to delegate things to others.
If you learn how to delegate tasks, you can get a lot more done. If you learn how to delegate responsibility, you can have a much larger impact.
Are you delegating tasks or responsibility?
Another way to phrase this might be: Should you be managing others or should you be leading others?
Both are valid answers. Each has its place.
Managers delegate tasks and then monitor progress. Managers do work through others. It’s a good way to achieve scale.
One person can’t do everything. And, as the saying goes, “many hands make light work.”
So, as a manager, you organize tasks, setup a process, assign duties, and get everyone working together toward a shared goal.
As a manager, you take on full responsibility for everything and see that everyone does what needs to be done to make it all happen.
Leaders need to approach things differently.
The first goal of leadership is to create more leaders. You do that by delegating responsibility rather than tasks. You do that by sharing ownership.
You do that by taking on more risk. That’s the scary part.
But it’s also the part that allows you to accomplish a lot more than you ever could as a manager.
As a leader, you don’t watch over every detail. You don’t dictate all the processes. You don’t fix all the problems.
As a leader, you identify critical points where others can take ownership. Then, you give it to them, along with the responsibility for them to see it through.
They are your managers (whether or not they might be managing people).
Be A Good Coach
Delegating responsibility means focusing on outcomes rather than process.
It means being really clear about what is to be accomplished and letting go of how it is to be accomplished.
But it doesn’t mean letting go of the responsibility. It means that you share it.
Which means that you are trusting someone to do something that still has your name on it.
You are now entering a partnership. And it’s your job to support your partners.
Here’s where you get to do something really great, but also really hard. You get to be a coach.
A coach talks someone through things. A coach shares the benefit of lots of experience. A coach helps people to learn how to do things themselves. In their own way.
A coach trains someone to do their best. Helping more with mental hurdles and emotional struggles than with the mechanics. Even though the mechanics dominate the most of the discussions.
A coach is a sounding board. A trusted partner. Someone who can inspire and support and provoke.
The coach has a vested interest in the outcome, but can only contribute indirectly to the action. The coach can’t dictate every little thing. But the coach is the only one who can provide broad perspective and guidance to pull all those things together for the win.
When you are seeking to achieve scale to achieve straight-forward goals, delegating tasks may work just fine.
When you are seeking to achieve something more significant, you will probably need to delegate responsibility.
Knowing which way you should delegate will go a long way toward your success.
And when it’s time to delegate responsibility, acting like a good coach will help you to succeed.
If you continue to act like a manager when you should be acting like a leader, you are likely to create lots of problems.
It’s not always easy to act like a good leader, but it’s important for your success and for the success of the team. And it’s a crucial growth opportunity for others.
They will grow tremendously as you allow them to take on more responsibility. Which creates room for you to grow as well.