Weekly Leadership Workout: Delegate!

Guest Author: Robin Oliver, Marketing Executive

When I returned to work after maternity leave from having my first child, I asked one of my best employees how things had gone in my absence. She looked at me with more confidence than I had ever seen on her face and said: “I think I learned more in the last eight weeks that I have in the last three years.”

Wow. I had failed completely as a manager. For three years I had been protecting an employee with incredible potential from her own success. I had handled every tough question, provided ideas and solutions whenever they were needed, answered the call when the client was angry, and often simply done the work because I believed it would be faster or more efficient that way.

So, here is my challenge to you this week. Whether you are in a management role with dozens of employees or a team of one, practice delegation this week. Pick a project you are working on with a team, hand off an assignment that you might have typically done yourself, and let go.

Yes, there is risk involved. But remember that failure brings with it lessons learned for your employee and for yourself.

I had a boss who once told me: “Don’t stress, there isn’t a cooler under your desk with an organ in it.” We’re not talking musical instruments – he meant a heart, or a liver, or a kidney. I was a marketing executive, not an ER nurse. And, his point was that most of our actions aren’t life or death. So, unless you work in a trauma hospital, take a risk this week and let a team member show you what they are capable of.