We all know that good managers delegate tasks as a tool to grow and develop their team. And we
all know that managers aren’t delegating enough (Gallo, 2012). We also know that focusing on the WIIFY (What’s In It For YOU) factor is the best way to influence people so instead of focusing on the benefits of the employees, let’s flip this around and focus on the benefits for the managers. After all, managers are people too. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Here are 5 selfish reasons to delegate more often:
- Work less hours. This should be obvious, but the fact is, many managers feel obligated to put in more than 40 hours a week. The unwritten expectation of management positions in many companies is 45 – 50 hours a week. In fact, according to a Gallup survey, the average full-time salaried worker logs 49 hours per week. (Saad, 2014) Has anyone ever stopped to ask why? Is there really that much work to do on a consistent basis or has it become the accepted norm? What if you could shave off 1 hour per day, 5 hours a week? What would you do with that extra hour in your day? Spend time with family, friends, exercise, or relax? The possibilities are endless.
- Stop doing boring work. Most people assume, incorrectly, that just because we don’t like to do a task no one else likes to do it either. That’s usually not the case. In fact, you know that report that you dread pulling every Monday morning? I bet there’s some data lover on your team who is just dying to get their hands on it. It’s all a matter of perspective. You can replace that boring to you task with something more satisfying and interesting.
- Work with only the best clients. Have you dreamed of handing off an annoying client to someone on your team but worry that your employee will think you’re punishing them? Don’t worry, they probably won’t see it that way. Similar to handing off a task you think is boring, a client you find annoying could be your employee’s dream client. This will free up your time to find more of your own dream clients to work with. Be careful about falling into the ‘I see things this way so everyone else must see it that way too’ trap.
- Take a vacation. When is the last time you were able to go on a real vacation without worrying about checking your phone or email? If you’ve never experienced a total disconnect, you’re not alone. Research shows 42% of workers feel obligated to check their email while on vacation. (Dill, 2014) Wouldn’t it feel great to go away knowing that your capable staff is taking care of everything and that when you get back you don’t have to walk in to a pile of work waiting for you? Too many managers feel like they are less valuable if they don’t work on vacation. On the contrary, a manager who has developed a competent team is much more valuable than one who is tethered to the job.
- You can’t grow if you won’t let go. I saved the best for last. This is the number one reason why you should delegate. Your boss can’t delegate to you if your day is filled with mundane tasks that you could be handing off to your team and you can’t volunteer for new opportunities if your plate is full with the same old day to day tasks that you’ve brought with you through your last two promotions. If you want to make room for new opportunities and new responsibilities without adding hours to your day, you will need to let go of the old to make room for the new. What opportunities could be waiting for you if you had the capacity?
The number one reason managers don’t delegate is that they are afraid. Afraid that someone else is better, faster, smarter. The fear of becoming irrelevant and unnecessary. It’s an oxymoron of the worst kind because it keeps you stuck in a self-fulfilling prophecy. The way to become stale and irrelevant is to continue to do the same old work that you’ve always done.
There is an element of trust and faith involved in delegating. Delegation requires trust in the person you’re delegating to and also faith that newer and better things will come to fill the void that is left. Nature abhors a vacuum. Start delegating so you can start growing and as you grow you will also become a respected leader who is known for developing their team. It’s a win/win for everyone.
Gallo, Amy. “Why Aren’t You Delegating?” Harvard Business Review. Harvard Business Review, 26 July 2012. Web. 03 Oct. 2015.
Saad, Lydia. “The “40-Hour” Workweek Is Actually Longer — by Seven Hours.” Gallup.com. Gallup, 29 Aug. 2014. Web. 03 Oct. 2015.
Dill, Kathryn. “You’re Probably Checking Your Work Email On Vacation–But You Shouldn’t Be, Study Shows.” Forbes. Forbes Magazine, 17 June 2014. Web. 03 Oct. 2015.