Why Emotional Intelligence is the Key to Effective Delegation
Does it happen with you, as well, that when you need the maximum contribution from your team, you find yourself too alone to perform? Perhaps, you have hurt that finger several times before – by relying on your team and now, you’re simply not ready to take that risk anymore.
Here’s a situation: Your boss assigns you a target to achieve in a month’s time. You are already loaded with work and feel overwhelmed, but since you value your job, you don’t want to give up. So, you are left with two options – you either delegate most of your work and jostle between your deadline and daily progress, or option two that you challenge yourself and decide to do it all alone – especially when you are reminded of a past incident when unforeseen delays were caused due to delegation of tasks. While option one leaves you with insecurities about the delay or quality of delivery, option two causes all the more anxiety and stress. You feel that the control is in your hands but your workload is huge. This calls for a reality check – you must identify which one would you choose? Indeed, entangled with performance pressures, many leaders would fall in the trap of looking at a short-term success. That means – choosing not to delegate to ensure they deliver on time.
However, regardless of your success rate in delivering the project in either of the cases, you must do an evaluation on your leadership growth here. If you remain mired with transactional work, you might lose the vision and unconsciously succumb to a downfall in leadership. This is a clear indication of your under-developed delegation skills that may eventually hamper your productivity. Think!
Discover the Gaps in your Delegation Approach
This step starts with discovering your biggest bottlenecks against delegation. Even before that, you should clearly define for yourself as to what delegation means—it is about empowering others and growing together i.e., leading in action. Think: if you also end up doing all the transactional work along with the team, then who will lead? Here’s more:
1. Are you Unable to Prioritise What Needs your Maximum Attention?
This happens when you are unable to invest your time in your people and keep telling everyone that you are busy in your projects and caught up in too many things. As leading Indian Businessman and Chairman of Tata teleservices, Ratan Tata talks about Delegation too, and he points it out right that, “The key to maximising your productivity and keeping yourself sane during heavy workloads is to know your team. Often, employers will assign tasks based on an employee’s availability, not their skill-set. This can lead to poor execution and unnecessary frustration. Remember, blind delegation is unproductive. If you don’t know what tasks need doing or what goals you’re chasing, odds are your team won’t either.”
In such a situation, many leaders end up assuming that they can save more time doing a job themselves than investing it in conveying the requirements to the team.
2. Do you Suffer from Perfectionism Syndrome?
The attitude and expectations of getting things right, called perfectionism, might create unnecceary stress and disappointment. Striving to be perfect will move you away from your big vsion and that is expected when you reach a senior position. As a perfectionist, you will remain stuck up in the conundrum of making things RIGHT. The key is to let others do their job and trust them. When this tendency couples up with your inability to trust the capability or commitment levels of others, you decide to keep it shorter by doing it yourself. However, what you might miss to realise is that your plate, which already full will now start to spill. Sounds familiar?
3. Are you Being Drawn too Much to the Chair or your Title?
This happens when you are not aware of your own emotions – whether they are serving you or not. As you are aware of the capabilities of your team members, you fear that some of them could outshine you in specific tasks. When leaders such as Bill Gates, the founder of Microsoft, say, “As you look ahead into the next century, leaders will be those who empower others”, it is time leaders rise above the claim game. Their focus should be on the big picture – a sustainable growth in empowering teams and not in drawing appreciation for a task done right.
Dig Deeper into your Delegation Blockers to Remove One by One
Getting over these roadblocks requires emotional intelligence and you would also need courage, motivation, persistence to come out of your comfort zone. You would be able to manifest the desired outcomes once you master this art:
Remember the famous book we read when we were growing up “7 Habits of Effective People”. The author, Stephen Covey’s popular Stewardship Delegation method has a lot to offer as a solution here. Extracted from the book, this method talks about delegating the right level of responsibility and authority; allowing the individual to own the work and communicate progress and results at agreed upon intervals. It includes providing guidance and support when needed.
Here’s your antidote:
Delegation, when done right, can help improve relationships between individuals and boost overall employee productivity and satisfaction. When delegation combines with emotional intelligence, it can powerfully convert a feeble relationship into a sustainable professional bond – which eventually would result in profitable business outcomes.