Sunday, August 12, 2012

The Power in Delegation

The power in delegation is not just its effectiveness; its effectiveness comes from the power that is delegated. A leader of an organization that operates over many sites and provides a service to people worldwide, Craig Groeschl reminded a worldwide audience at a leadership conference that...

If you delegate tasks, you get followers.
If you delegate authority, you get leaders.

Every organization needs to develop leaders or it will die or spend a lot of money to scavenge leaders from other places that developed some. Elsewhere I've blogged about this too. Groeschl was talking about generational impact. If we're not developing the next generation, then there will be hell to pay when the Baby Boomers retire en masse. If you manage to hire people with leadership talent and don't use it, you will lose it. They will move on.

If you give someone a recipe, you stifle creativity and innovation. If you give them the expectation for the results (e.g. a chocolate cake, a new smartphone, a service ordered over the internet), you allow creativity to prevail while you still enjoy the success. Try this experiment at your next staff meeting: tell people they have to cross the room (i.e. get from one side to the other), but they cannot duplicate the manner in which someone else has already crossed. You'll get interesting means of walking, skipping, tandem efforts and so on.

So what's effective delegation? It's delegating the power to get the results. What will they get? Responsibility and authority and experience making decisions, solving problems, collaborating, managing teams, researching options, etc. What will you get? New leaders and you'll also get the results. Oh, you'll be able to focus on what you uniquely need to accomplish. If you delegate tasks, you may tend to micromanage, and that could lead to less effectiveness.

But that's a whole different blog.

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