7 Tips for Letting Go as a Manager

Delegation and control are common topics with my coaching clients. They recognize the importance of delegation and how it can serve them, but some still struggle with letting go.

In order to free up space to be more strategic, have a greater impact, be more efficient, and achieve work/life balance, delegating appropriate tasks to others is necessary and even required for managers today. This can feel risky—especially if the leader is high controlling, is a perfectionist, or has a heavy workload. Effective leaders who climb the corporate ladder are skilled at delegating and developing people.

When delegating, room must be made for learners to try and fail, which takes extra time. Similar to Blanchard’s SLII® model, extra time is required in Style 1 (Directing) to provide details, show and tell how, monitor frequently, and give feedback to develop a team member on a new task. As the learner develops, the leader can eventually move to Style 4 (Delegating) and devote less time to the team member.

It takes time and planning to effectively develop others, but it’s worth it. Delegation and the development of others are linked together!

If internal issues are standing in the way of delegating, leaders must ask themselves what is causing the need for control. Why do I fear letting go and trusting others to do it correctly? Do I really believe I am the only one who can do it? Do I just want attention? Some managers simply enjoy the sense of accomplishment because they can complete the tasks quickly and accurately with no heavy brain power (cognitive strain).

Ready to start letting go? Here are seven tactics that will help you be more successful.

  1. Create a detailed plan for transferring the task.
  2. Be clear of the objectives and outcomes of the task.
  3. Create a timeline.
  4. Establish how and when you will monitor progress.
  5. Do not make assumptions.
  6. Create a safe space for learning and failures.
  7. Provide timely feedback.

Many times, what stands in the way of managerial success is control. The leader’s need to remain in control of a task or project will eventually cause both leader and direct report to fall short of expectations. Delegating more will allow for growth opportunities and professional development for both you and your people. Use these suggestions, take a deep breath, and give it a try today!

About the Author

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Terry Watkins is a coaching solutions partner with The Ken Blanchard Companies Coaching Services team. Since 2000, Blanchard’s 150 coaches have worked with over 14,500 individuals in more than 250 companies throughout the world. Learn more at Blanchard Coaching Services.

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