Delegation is not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for the non-trusting, the controller, the “my way or the highway” type of leader.
The definition of delegation is: “A person authorized to act for others, a representative.” As organization leaders, it is a tool that is often a bit dusty and rusty at the bottom of our toolbox.
Delegation is just one of several tools that you have immediate access to as you build your organization on a daily basis.
Delegation is disguised in loyalty, enthusiasm, communication, and leadership.
Loyalty: The foundation of your organization is based and judged on loyalty. We draw business leaders, members, volunteers, and sponsors with the established loyalty of our organizations.
Enthusiasm: When a football coach at halftime delegates the plays, options, and risks, do you think enthusiasm is part of his conversation with his team? Enthusiasm is the same advantageous principal of delegation that executives use in sharing the risks and rewards of a program, project, or goal with their staff or board members.
Communication: The words you use, the tone of voice, and the nonverbal communication tools that you use as you delegate can project the wide range of your expectations from trust or train wreck. Clearly define the task and the deadline. If applicable, anticipate the successful completion and then celebrate the achievement.
Leadership: Leadership is in all levels of your organization. From president/CEO to staff to directors to members and your community, all can participate and benefit from delegation. An autocratic leader has no followers, thus no one to delegate to.
Effective leaders use delegation as a key tool to achieve more work in less time.
A few of the questions of the risks and rewards of delegation are:
• What if they fail, will it reflect on me? (I always ask, “What if they don’t fail?”)
• Can others do as good a job as I do?
• Can I trust the volunteer to get the job done on time and on budget?
• Do I think I am indispensable? (Do you need to reduce your staff’s dependence and increase your own independence?)
Sometimes you have your own running marathon, and other times you need a relay team to get to your finish line. Remember the goal is to get to the finish line.
One of the best victories of delegation is giving trust to others so they can shine their own light and contribute to the success of your organization with pride and honor.
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