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Delegate or Die

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"As all entrepreneurs know, you live and die by your ability to prioritize. You must focus on the most important, mission-critical tasks each day and night, and then share, delegate, delay, or skip the rest.” ~ Jessica Jackley

Intellectually, we all understand how important it is to distribute tasks across the team, but most of the managers and leaders we work with admit that they struggle with delegating. Two things may be coming into your mind: 1.) Yay! I’m not alone! 2.) Why doesn’t anyone talk bout it, then?

These are both reasonable and understandable thoughts. The first is reassuring since your struggles and challenges are validated and experienced by many others. The second is shocking, but just a bit. Looking at it through the lens of human behavior, it is a defense mechanism.  By keeping it to yourself, nobody will find out you don’t actually know what you’re doing. 

There is something else at play. To effectively delegate and empower a team to execute requires that leaders transfer control, which many are simply not able to do. They do not properly train and prepare someone for the task (there’s just no time for that!), they do not trust others’ skills (nobody else could do it as well as I would!), and they fear the repercussions of failure (they will make me look bad!).  Each of these reasons develops into a story the leader tells herself to justify sucking up all of the work and to savor the comfort of a victim mentality. As the victim, they are free to blame the organization (if we only had better training programs!), their own manager (doesn’t she see how busy we are?), their team (why do I have to do everything?), and the world (I hate my job!). While this mentality frees them from culpability, it also renders them powerless to affect the situation. Not only is this incredibly unproductive, it also feels pretty terrible.

As a leader, you have to be in control of your situation – NOT the work. Step back in the lead role of your life and master the stories you tell yourself. We know the importance of distributing the workload and empowering the team so as a leader we do not burnout and are able to focus on more strategic work.  Sit down and think about your own barriers to delegation, and who or what you are giving the power to. Then, take it back.

In support of that work, we’ve developed a simple yet powerful tool called the Whole Mind Coaching Canvas™. Click here To experience its transformational effects and register for one of our FREE! Whole-Mind Me™ Webinars to unlock even more of your potential.

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