The Art of Delegation

The Art of Delegation

An alarming number of leaders suffer from the sensation that each day they are losing ground, unable to stay in front of the wave of overburdening workloads, deadlines and expectations. The toll on productivity, morale and health often goes unrecognized until a crisis hits. Equally alarming is that in some cases it is self-induced. Many leaders take on assignments, unnecessarily retain work or fail to delegate when the opportunities exist. Granted, in this do-more-with-less culture, leaders may have fewer resources, but overworked managers often fail to understand what true delegation is and are unable to delegate even when they do. Leaders who don’t delegate suffer from an inability to manage, as desperation becomes the norm. The added stress and anxiety flows from the leader’s desk to the staff, and sets the entire organization on edge. Conditions around the team worsen as attitudes, engagement, efficiency and profitability degrade. Many leaders view delegation as a sign of weakness, an inability to handle the job, something done out of desperation. However, delegation is a strategic tool used by wise leaders to make the most of available manpower to clear tough obstacles. Learning to delegate offers leaders relief and equips them to manage at their best, which is ultimately best for everyone. Categorizing Work to Delegate If piles of work are spilling over on your desk, your last thought might be how to redistribute some of the work, but this is exactly the thing to do. Do it while you still have some clarity of mind and grasp of the projects at hand. Skillful delegation builds team unity and accountability, as people pull...
Essential Communication Skills for Leaders

Essential Communication Skills for Leaders

Leaders continue to assume greater responsibilities and pressures as markets and technologies call for increasingly faster commerce, responses and results. Information overload and business volatility have become the norm, requiring nimble management and staff interconnection. Leadership success depends on a most essential professional skill: strategic communication. Task completion and organizational achievement demand peak-level communication. A leader’s fundamental role is to be an excellent communicator and a proponent for a communication-based culture. Organizations led by great communicators are far more likely to prosper, especially when faced with onerous challenges. Unfortunately, too many organizations are hampered by leaders who fail to grasp the power of good communication (or discount its importance). Some leaders consider information to be communication in and of itself, but it’s really just data. Communication is the ability to convey information strategically—the very core of leadership, affirms executive coach Dianna Booher in Communicate Like a Leader: Connecting Strategically to Coach, Inspire, and Get Things Done (Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2017). Leaders develop and use communication—a soft skill—to work with others, recognizing that success relies on unity and collaboration. When combined with the traditional hard skills of quantitative analysis and decision-making, communication rounds out a leader’s ability to bring people together and achieve high performance. A lack of communication causes multiple obstructions, debilitations and failures, as Booher notes: In survey after survey, managers report that their team understands organizational goals and initiatives. Yet team members themselves say they do not. In a recent worldwide Gallup poll among 550 organizations and 2.2 million employees, only 50 percent of employees "strongly agreed" that they knew what was expected of them at work. Obviously,...