Many of us to go through our careers without experiencing significant growth. Although we may receive merit increases and promotions, in reality, we never really evolve. Why? Praveen Suthrum, co-founder and president of NextServices (a healthcare technology firm), says it's because we never do anything different. Not because we can't, but because we don't make the time.
In a LinkedIn article, Suthrum says, "In reality, we don't have 16 years of experience. We possibly have two years of experience repeated eight times." He goes on to explain,
"If you find yourself doing exactly the same tasks from six months ago, you aren't delegating enough. Of course, some tasks will never fully go away. But ask yourself if you are actively seeking someone whom you can train, develop and hand-off something you've mastered. Move forward."
As a manager, if you never off-load some things, then you'll never create the margin to pursue growth opportunities.
It's easy to get wrapped up with work that's safe and familiar and to hoard tasks for the simple reason that we have always owned them. Here are a couple thoughts to motivate you to delegate.
1. Help your team help you by delegating to others.
It takes a lot of up-front effort to train others. The process of mentoring a back-up can be so time-consuming that many would rather overload themselves and run the risk off burn-out than teach someone else. It may not be convenient in the short term, but it's necessary for both you and your employee's development in the long run.
To grow as a leader, you'll need to scale your technical-self through your people. The day-to-day tasks that you're holding onto are what's keeping you from more challenging and strategic work.
In the process of investing in others, you'll develop the next generation of leadership that's ready to assume your position after you progress.
2. Delegating will improve your team's performance.
Not only are we holding ourselves back by hoarding unnecessary work, but also our teams.
Each one of your employees has strengths and skills sets unique to them. Some are naturally predisposed to detail-oriented work, others are wired for analysis and research, and a few are probably creative.
When a manager uncovers their employee's unique work styles, they can deploy their people against projects and work that suits them. They can play to their employee's strengths and strategically delegate tasks they know they'll excel at. In the process, they'll increase their employee's engagement and enhance their team's productivity.
As a manager, you're probably holding onto work that requires a myriad of different skills sets. Rather than attempting to tackle everything on your own, lean on your employees. Tasks that might take you hours to complete, could take minutes for those who enjoy the work, can focus on one thing at a time and have natural abilities in that area.
Delegating is harder than it seems. For some, they've worked for years to acquire their current responsibilities. It's counterintuitive, but in order to pursue growth opportunities, you'll need to create bandwidth by handing off work that you've already mastered.