It’s easy to use “lack of time” as an excuse to ignore everything that we planned to each day. However, we each have access to all the time that there is, every single day. How we use this time makes the difference between realizing our goals or not, and the most underused tool to help managers free up significant time is delegating.
A Harvard Business Review report found that 41% of a manager’s day included activities that could have been delegated to team members. This statistic lines up with the confessions we’ve heard from supervisors and managers over the years; they are uncomfortable delegating.
They cite the following reasons:
- I can do it better myself
- I can do it quicker myself
- I am afraid someone else will screw it up
- I will have to do so much hand-holding, I might as well just do it myself
- I do not have anyone on my team who can do it
- I do not want to overload my team members with my work
It’s a convincing list of reasons that share a common thread. For each reason that a manager or supervisor does not delegate, there is an attitudinal belief about their team’s capabilities that lies just below the surface.
Beliefs are tricky. They are not skills, but unspoken philosophies. In this case, the manager believes that team members cannot learn or that they cannot reach the level of mastery required to take on a particular task or project. However, the whole reason we have managers and supervisors is to develop and manage the team’s capabilities to produce the best results. Can this really happen when a manager believes that they are the one who must do all of the heavy lifting?
This mindset or belief system is the foundation for how we apply ALL supervisory and management skills. As we delegate, provide feedback, or coach, these beliefs impact how we approach these functions. They come through in our actions, in what we say, and in how we say it.
Addressing the negative impacts of such a belief system is the goal of a course called the Essential Skills of Leadership, published by Vital Learning.
Often, supervisors are not fully aware of how their beliefs are impacting their effectiveness as a leader. Taking time to consider these beliefs and learn practical skills to support a more positive approach to leading is a great foundation for everything that leaders must execute on any given day.
Imagine if, during 2020, all of your managers and supervisors suddenly had 41% more time! What might they accomplish? How might this impact your organization’s bottom line?