How to Delegate with Intention: A Key Skill for Women in Business Leadership
“It will get done faster (and better) if I just do it myself!”
“Even when I explain in detail how to do it, it isn’t done right.”
I don’t want someone to think I’m dumping something I just don’t want to do on them!”
If you’re a woman in business leadership, you’ve likely made a statement like one of these recently.
Delegating is a skill that does not come easily to most leaders. We struggle with giving up control of the outcomes and worry others will see us “avoiding” work if we ask them to handle it.
But learning how to delegate with intention is one of the key leadership skills you need to master if you want to be a truly effective leader. Delegating with intention elevates your leadership and helps you empower and develop the people you lead. Done well, delegating might just become your new favorite task.
WHAT DOES DELEGATING WITH INTENTION LOOK LIKE?
In practice, delegating with intention helps us combat our discomfort and unease with the practice of asking others to take on work for us. It’s important to remember that sharing the right work with the right people means that each person – you included – can focus on those things that add the most value.
When it comes to delegating with intention, you have two areas of focus:
- Empowering and Developing Your Team (and yourself!)
- Adding More Value to the Organization
So let’s see this at work…
You have a data set that needs to be sorted before you can use the data to make a recommendation to a committee about the next steps for a specific project. You also have a few memos to write, an employee review to complete, and some admin tasks. If you decide to do all of this work yourself, you know it will be done correctly, but it’s going to take you an entire day to work through everything.
The kind of delegating you’re used to (that feels uncomfortable) would include you calling up someone “beneath” you and tossing the work that you don’t have time for at them. No wonder that doesn’t feel great!
But you’re a woman in business leadership who leads – and delegates – with intention. So you think about the conversations you’ve been having with your team lately to see who might be a good fit for a few of the tasks you have on hand.
Samantha mentioned that she wanted to deepen her analytics skills in your last one-on-one, so you ask her if she can step in and support the team (and develop a skill she’s interested in) by sorting the data set. She’s thrilled to be trusted with a side project in her area of interest, and you’ve freed up some of your time.
You’ve noticed that Greg is an excellent writer, so you let him know you appreciate his writing skills and could use his help crafting a few key memos for the team. He completes the memos in a fraction of the time it would have taken you, and they are clearly written and easy to understand.
Because you’ve learned how to delegate with intention, you now have plenty of time to sort through the data Samantha aggregated for you and make a well-informed, insightful recommendation to the committee. You don’t have an endless to-do list dangling over your head, so you’re able to be more focused and intentional in the employee review.
HOW TO DELEGATE WITH INTENTION AS WOMEN IN BUSINESS LEADERSHIP
Sure, the above scenario sounds great, but how do you start delegating with intention in your own role?
There are some key questions you can ask to help start putting this important leadership skill into practice. A skill important to develop for women in business leadership.
- Why is this task important?
Get clear on why the task at hand matters. That will help you decide who is the right person to handle it.
- What is the desired outcome?
Understanding the desired outcome will help you realize how important each task is, and help you feel more confident about delegating it to someone else or keeping it on your list.
- Why do I not want to delegate this task?
Do you feel like it’s a waste of time to explain to someone else? Are you worried that they’ll think you’re giving them work you simply don’t want to do? Figure out why you don’t want to do it so you know how to course-correct. Maybe you need to shift your mindset, change your attitude, or remind yourself of the value of delegating.
- What is it that only you should be doing?
Knowing your zone of genius – those things that you truly excel at – will help you sort through the things that need your personal attention and those things that someone else can take over. Saying “no” to work you don’t need to do gives you time and energy for those things that specifically need you.
WOMEN IN BUSINESS LEADERSHIP BENEFIT FROM DELEGATING WITH INTENTION
Learning how to effectively and intentionally delegate helps:
- Your employees
- Your organization
Delegating with intention is essentially a win-win.
“When you get the best from your employees, the company gets the best results.”
– LEAD WITH HEART AND LEAVE A LEGACY
Asking employees to manage certain tasks will help them develop new and existing skills. They’ll also feel empowered and appreciate being needed. People want to feel valued – and delegating with intention is one of the best ways to help them contribute to the team.
When you give yourself space to focus on the things you are best at, your work will be even better. You can pour your time and energy into focused tasks, improve your own skills, and deliver excellent results.
Your organization will benefit in a number of ways when you start delegating with intention. First, everyone is involved in delivering better work – which improves the quality of the organization across the board. You’re also helping improve employee quality and satisfaction, which leads to better organization-wide results. In fact, highly engaged teams show 21% greater profitability (Gallup).
READY TO START DELEGATING WITH INTENTION
You see the benefits and you’re ready to sharpen your delegating skills. I’m excited to see how this benefits you and your team! And to start dividing up tasks based on urgency and importance, I highly recommend using Eisenhower’s Urgent/Important Principle.
You can click here to download a free guide to help you get started delegating with intention and improving outcomes. You’ll be delegating like a pro in no time!