Picture yourself sitting in your manager’s office. You are completely stressed and overwhelmed and share that you need help. Your manager proceeds to tell you that you need to delegate. I am going to bet that at least of few of you have been in that chair in that scenario. Many of you either rolled your eyes or had the internal dialogue of how that is not helpful and you continued to have a stressful overwhelming feeling as your moved throughout your day.
With a little more experience, those eye rolls turn into bright-eyed ideas because your manager is right. Delegation is the key to so many things. I am about to tell you the top three reasons why you should start delegating today.
A Safety Net
At gap intelligence, we work in teams in many capacities of our business. We work in functional teams to get our reports out, we work in culture teams to bring fun and learning to gappers, and we work in teams to discuss big strategic projects. While teams can sometimes appear to slow things down, they also act as a safety net for when a member of the team can’t be available. By working in teams, we allow for delegation to come more naturally. When one person is out sick or gets distracted by a different project that may be a higher priority for them, they can easily delegate their tasks and not risk anything falling through the cracks.
We all like to believe that we can do it all, be everywhere, and handle everything, but the reality is that the best way to do all that is to lean on your team. I know that in my own experience, having the luxury of people knowing the context of the projects that I am working on has come to save me many times. It is a reassuring feeling and allows us all to move around our work and home lives in the best way possible while still, somehow, getting it all done. Delegation within teams empowers all involved and makes the team stronger in the end.
Another common fear of delegation is that you are pawning your work onto someone else that already probably has a full plate. This is completely understandable but also in a lot of ways nonsensical. The reality is that in order for people to develop, they need to take on new tasks. The best way to do this is with the coaching from someone that has already done that task or managed that project. Delegating offers just this opportunity. When you give someone else the opportunity to work on something that you would have been working on, it allows them to learn more and take some chances. It also gives new light and ideas to a project that may need just that to take it past the finish line.
Every time I have been given an opportunity in this fashion, I have been so excited and felt honored that the person trusted me to do something that they would have otherwise worked on themselves. When I first started delegating tasks and projects, I worried just like many that it was not right to give up work. However, when I flipped the perspective and put myself on the receiving side, I saw that this is exactly what excites a lot of people at work giving them just the opportunity they need to grow and develop into something better for themselves and the company.
Finally, delegation ultimately leads to development and is the precursor to succession planning. While some think that succession planning is something that you do all at once and call it a day, it is actually an exercise that, when done best, is a continuous process. Succession planning allows for companies to grow and continue after people either develop out of their roles or sometimes move on to different opportunities outside of a company. By delegating, you are teaching someone else elements of your job, which allows for you and them to grow.
At gap, we have a lot of specialized roles and people with very unique knowledge. The best way for us to continue to grow is to share that knowledge across our teams. This is done in the form of cross training and delegating and usually always benefits the individual and the company. Delegation allows people to be ready for the next step in their careers. While it is sometimes challenging (though necessary) to get thrown straight into the frying pan, it is also great to have some context and experience, which delegation does exactly that.
Delegation may seem scary at first. It may seem nearly counterintuitive to what you think is best for your co-workers. But just remember these reasons and why it will actually push you, your team, and your whole company forward. Try it and watch the magic happen.