Leaders need to focus their efforts on areas where they can add the most value. There is never a shortage of priorities, so what do you do? One of the biggest transitions for a new leader is that you no longer do things by yourself, but you need to get things done through others. Focus on delegation and accountability or it becomes very easy to fall into old habits of doing things yourself and you get overwhelmed. Doing things really well may have helped you get promoted, but it will not make you successful as a team leader.
Why are delegation and accountability important? One person can only accomplish so much. Delegation allows a team to accomplish a lot of work and gives opportunities to others to be empowered and learn. Accountability allows the leader to stay connected with the work and the progress being made ensuring it gets done.
Where do you start? This can be a challenge when you haven’t had any experience with delegating and holding people accountable. You have a team of people now and delegating tasks will give the team experience, build trust and help them develop new skills to give them the exposure they need to grow. If you do things yourself it causes the team to be de-motivated, creates trust issues and isn’t sustainable. Your time should be spent focused on the strategic vision of the organization, ensuring it is moving in the right direction, developing the team and delivering on commitments. A wise leader once told me “that if the leader doesn’t spend time focusing on their team and the strategy of the group, then no one else will.”
Here are some things to consider if you are a leader who is new to delegation and accountability:
Think about what you have to delegate and does the person have the skill set to execute the task?
What would they learn by doing this task and does it play to their strengths?
Explain the task to the person, why you are delegating it to them, what your expectations are and when it is due.
Ask them to set up weekly check-in meetings with you. This allows you to see how things are progressing and for them to ask you questions if they need your help. If the task is running behind, ask them to come up with ways to get it back on track. Don’t tell them how to do things though. Remember this is about learning for them.
Once they complete the task, ask them what they have learned by doing it and would they do anything differently next time?
If the task is completed on time, congratulate them on a job well done.
Ensure that you continue to find new tasks that will challenge them and help them learn.
The transition of moving from an individual contributor to becoming a leader of a team can be one of the most challenging, but also one of the most rewarding for the leader as well as the team. Ask the team to hold you accountable for delegating more things to them. Continue to push your team to do things outside of their comfort zone and you will see them grow into great leaders themselves someday!
If you want to grow your leadership by delegating more and would like my help, please set up time with me by using this link: http://susanmbarber.com/schedule-an-appointment/