Mistakes New Leaders Make: Not Delegating

April 6th, 2014

Justin Clark, MBA

This twelve week series is a collection of my personal experiences as a new leader over the past three years. These are not only mistakes that I have made, but that I continue to make at times. I hope that by sharing my experiences, readers will be able to navigate their role as a leader more skillfully. 

What are the barriers to doing this?

As a new leader I felt the pressure to make changes.  I had been given a broad range of responsibility and tasked with optimizing our performance in various areas. I spent a few months observing and making note of changes that I felt would improve our performance. I consulted with coworkers on ideas and asked them to evaluate them critically. When it came time to make changes, I felt I was the best person to effectively implement them. Having this control seemed like the best way to achieve results.

What is the case for doing it anyway?

Was I ever wrong! What I didn’t realize was that by not delegating to other leaders, I was effectively stifling them in their roles. Not only was it unreasonable to do everything by myself, it wasn’t producing the outcomes I had hoped. As a leader, we are only as good as our team. We must empower those who work along side us to be leaders. To champion ideas. To achieve results. If we don’t, they will disengage. At best, your team will settle for mediocrity. At worst, you will fail to perform at a level that your organization deems acceptable.

How can you do it?

1.    Build the right team. You must have people on your team who can get the job done.

2.    Recognize when your desire to be in control is holding you back.

3.    Actively prioritize your tasks. Ask yourself if your current task is something you should do or delegate.

4.    Don’t delegate everything. You don’t want to be viewed as a leader who isn’t doing their part.

How does delegating work engage your team to be more successful?

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