More often than not, leaders fall into the trap of clutching to their control: like it was their last breath.
“If you want something done right, do it yourself” – Charles-Guillaume Étienne.
But, is this truly the best way to lead? On one hand, jobs are perhaps done exactly the way a leader wishes. On the other hand, there are limits to what one person can do.
When leading very small projects, it isn’t too hard to maintain control. However, what happens when someone else’s expertise exceeds our own? It is these situations which allow us to relinquish our desire to micromanage, and recognise the job can be completed better by someone else.
In this case, it is easy to delegate responsibility without even doing so. Managers and leaders will sometimes choose to delegate, but subsequently ‘stand over’ those they have delegated authority. For some tasks that is perhaps needed, but for most it is not.
“The first rule of management is delegation. Don’t try to do everything yourself because you can’t” – Anthea Turner.
If a restaurant owner-manager had expertise in business and finance, it would make no sense for them to micromanage their chefs. Handing over responsibility is easy in these situations where it is blatantly obvious there is a necessity to do so.
It isn’t always this easy though. Some groups are full of capable and experienced individuals with similar qualifications and expertise. In this example, the leader may not see much benefit in delegating responsibilities away from themselves and instead choose to hold total control. This common behaviour is not necessarily wrong, but there are far better approaches to take.
“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided on is being carried out” – Ronald Reagan.
Instead of holding all the power, allow followers to focus on particular tasks and empower them with appropriate responsibilities. What will be found is that many are equally as capable as their leader, some may be even better performers. These people in a micromanagement situation would not be utilised to their capacity and the leader and organisation would lose out.
So when you return to your leadership role, consider the fact that most of the time someone else is going to be more capable than yourself in particular tasks. Therefore it is impractical and counterproductive to overload yourself when the best output is not from doing everything, but rather by delegating to those who are capable and responsible for undertaking such tasks.
Delegation may not always be easy, but can assist in achieving organisational goals without leadership burnout.