Delegative Leadership: How to Leave Your Business in Good Hands

Free Up Time to Enjoy and Create

You didn’t start a business to spend all your time in it, did you? Yet that’s the position many entrepreneurs find themselves in. You spend all your time in your business rather than on your business.

In our Black Diamond Podcast episode ‘Defining the Entrepreneur, Kate Jamarillo says an entrepreneur, “craves the freedom to work the hours they want, the freedom to create, the freedom to not have a cap on their salary, the freedom to have time to travel or spend time with their loved ones, the people they love the most, or to do the things they love the most.”

Every entrepreneur that we’ve spoken to agrees. So why is it that so many spend so much of their time working? Could delegative leadership help you develop the work/life balance that your entrepreneurial inner self craves?

What is delegative leadership?

Delegative leadership is a style of leading in which you remove yourself from decision making. You delegate tasks to others, and allow them the autonomy to ‘get on with it’. With the right people in place, the theory is that you can take yourself away from the business and benefit from the extra free time.

Why is delegative leadership hard?

The art of delegation is not easy to master. Leaving tasks, people, teams, and your business in the hands of others is scary. You must rely on people to make the right decisions, knowing they won’t every time. Which means you must be comfortable with people making mistakes – because they will.

The pros of delegative leadership

As well as allowing you to work on your business, building strategic alliances, and giving you more time, delegating more helps your business by:

  • Enabling faster decision making – you aren’t micromanaging, and your people have the autonomy to make decisions, speeding up all processes.

  • Encouraging innovation and creativity – it’s natural to want to do things as efficiently as possible. You’ll find your people find ways to make their work easier.

  • Empowering self-development – because your employees are working more autonomously, they will seek opportunities to learn more and develop faster.

The cons of delegative leadership

If delegation were that easy, we wouldn’t need to write this article. Every manager and leader would be freely delegating all they can, and benefiting from all the advantages. The pros include:

  • Faster decision making can lead to mistakes, possibly leading to financial or reputational loss.

  • Because you are delegating tasks, there can be a lack of clarity of roles within a team. This can cause tasks to be missed or confusion and conflict within the team.

  • Employees can get the impression that you don’t care about the task or those involved in it. This can lead to poorly executed work and lower productivity.

When should you use delegative leadership – and when shouldn’t you?

To benefit from the advantages of delegative leadership and mitigate the disadvantages, you must know when you can use this leadership style.

If your people are highly skilled, experienced, and motivated, then you should be able to benefit from delegating tasks and responsibilities.

On the other hand, if your employees lack the knowledge, skill, and experience to perform tasks well, delegating tasks can be disastrous. If you need high productivity and efficiency, delegating must be executed with care. Some people are poor at time management, unable to prioritize effectively, and poor problem solvers.

How do you delegate effectively?

Often, because you’re fearful of letting go, you feel the need to do everything yourself. As Ken Andrukow says in when discussing getting out of your own way:

“Standing in your own way looks like spending 80% of your time doing things you’re not very good at and things that you don’t like to do.”

To delegate effectively, then, here are four things you must do:

  1. Understand the strengths and weaknesses of your people

Delegate tasks effectively by giving them to the people who will do them best. Consider who is good at the task, who likes to do that task best, and who is motivated to learn that task.

  1. Provide clear instructions

The detail of instruction that you must give depends on the task complexity and the skill and experience of those you are delegating to. You must communicate with clarity – and this is even more important now that many teams and team members are operating remotely. 

For tips on clarity of communication, listen to Tim Pollard as he discusses how to be an effective communicator even in a virtual environment in our Black Diamond Podcast episode, Creating influence in the virtual age.

  1. Demonstrate trust but set boundaries

By delegating responsibility appropriately, you demonstrate trust in the abilities of your employees. However, there is still the potential for errors and mistakes to be made. By setting boundaries, you demonstrate trust but limit the potential for damage.

An example is the story of a call center where any solution to a customer’s problem that incurred a cost had to be passed by the manager. The manager spent all his time agreeing solutions that the agents could make. So, he trialed a $100 limit, under which the agent could make the decision if they thought it the correct one. The result? Higher productivity, lower losses, happier employees, and happier customers.

  1. Be available

Be available for your people when those boundaries you set are tested. You are their safety net, and each interaction needed can be used as a developmental experience – for them and for you.

Are you ready to delegate?

Delegating is essential. It’s one of the rules of successful time management. It’s a key strategy to develop your team and create high-performers. It shouldn’t make you nervous to do so, if you understand the current potential of your people, communicate clearly, set boundaries, and remain available for emergencies.

What’s stopping you from delegating more? Is it your mindset or available resource? Is there something else that is obstructing you, and stopping you from living your ideal entrepreneurial life?

Get in touch with us. We’ll help you identify the maverick in you, and help you harness the power of your adaptability and flexibility to drive the success and lifestyle you deserve.

Error: Please complete all required fields!
loading... please wait.

We will never spam or share your email with 3rd parties, promise!



Comments RSS Feed Subscribe to our Comments RSS Feed
Comment Us!
The text to enter in the texbox below is: JjqGe3
Your Comment: