One of the Greatest Mistakes a Leader Can Make - Blog Post

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One of the Greatest Mistakes a Leader Can Make

enraged young businessman pulling his hair out for exasperation, having a burnout at work, screaming for frustration and stress, isolated, white background

What I’m going to say in this post may be slightly different than what you usually read about great leaders and CEO’s.

Most articles don’t mention this specific behavior as a major issue for leaders, nor do they mention that this one thing can easily derail their organization over time.

As a matter of fact, in a recent article in Harvard Business Review, this skill doesn’t even get a nod; although, if you look more closely, this is clearly running in the background.

One of the greatest mistakes any leader can make is not delegating.

Most of us don’t realize that the very existence of our team is a form of delegation. Our team is being paid to fulfill a specific role and to complete the required amount of work that we clearly can’t do—and likely don’t want to do. (I like to point this out to leaders when they begin telling me their excuses for not delegating.) As leaders, we are already delegating; a lot of other people are working on tasks that we couldn’t possibly achieve alone.

Moreover, our teams seem to manage a good majority of their work without our interference. What I mean by that is that unless you are hovering over each member of your team each and every day, somehow, the work is still getting done.

The bottom line? All leaders are delegating without even realizing it, but most of us should be doing it a lot more. Here’s why:

  • A lack of delegation slows progress and innovation. As a leader, one of our greatest responsibilities is visioning and establishing direction for our team and/or organization. We cannot possibly execute on all of the pieces involved in making those a success.
  • We only stifle the development of the other people around us. If we have any desire for our team and company to grow, this is going to be a problem. We will have no “bench” or anyone else to put in the game because no one will have the necessary skills developed to step in and fill new needs.
  • Our stress level will correlate directly with the amount of time we spend doing tasks that we have no desire to be doing. This does and will impact our relationships with our team and beyond. When I meet leaders who engage fully and have a sense of ease with their team, they are usually the ones delegating the right amount of tasks to the right people at the right time. Which means that they are spending the majority of their time doing the things that they were meant to be doing.

The next time you’re considering avoiding delegating unnecessary tasks, I encourage you to make a more courageous choice. Experience a different way of getting work done; your team will likely thank you for it.

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