Delegation… Why is it easy for some, and not others?

Publication 12, Issue 5

Delegation is a key leadership competency and probably one of the hardest to master. I still struggle with it even in my personal life, because I like things done in a certain way. Let’s face it, I’m totally self-aware and yet sometimes I play the “what if game” – “what if” the work doesn’t get done, “what if” I wait for a project to be done and it’s not what I was expecting…. I own that, and constantly work on thinking through what I can do and what I can delegate.

Let’s tackle this key leadership competency by each of the Playground Personalities© and explore what stops us from delegating and how we can change our mindset and delegate effectively, so we get what we want or need.

Peacemakers – want to accommodate people and not overload them, so they won’t necessarily delegate; they take a lot on themselves and then get upset or angry when they feel overloaded. So for Peacemakers delegation includes supporting their teams through regular meetings, project check-ins, conference calls, celebrations, etc. Peacemakers need to know that by delegating, they aren’t abdicating their responsibility, just shifting it to others.

Organizers – need the work to be done a certain way; for them, perfectionism gets in the way and they use the “lack of time” as an excuse not to delegate, so they do a lot of the work themselves. Organizers sometimes get accused of “micromanaging,” and, probably not falsely accused. They need to rethink delegation and know that people want both the responsibility and the authority to get the job done – so give it to them!

Revolutionaries – usually don’t have a problem with delegation unless they have been let down in the past; they enjoy being hands-on but know they can’t do it all! So for the Revolutionaries, they should take a look at their team members to make sure there are enough people to get the job done and make the context “real” for folks so they know exactly what has to be done.

Steamrollers – want the work to be flawlessly executed; so if they believe the staff might not be competent enough, they’ll probably hire an outside “expert” to complete the job. So it’s important that the Steamrollers only delegate when they have validated the technical “know-how” and have trust in the team to get the job done.

So, after you read this blog, stop for a minute, think about what you can delegate, re-read your Playground Personality above and delegate! We are who we are, I know, but sometimes we have to change it up not only to “make it through the day” but to be seen as the leaders we are!

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