It’s hard to overestimate the importance of good delegation skills to high-performing individuals, teams and organizations.
Not surprisingly, therefore, one can find countless articles and books about good delegation practices.
Rather than summarize those good delegation practices here, however, let’s take a look at the issue of delegation from a servant leadership perspective.*
I believe that what distinguishes a servant-leader from any other good delegator is the servant leadership reasons for doing so.
Servant-leaders delegate purposefully.
To elaborate, here are 4 distinctive reasons servant-leaders delegate.
- Servant-leaders delegate to share power. Authority is power. Servant-leaders don’t hoard power, but share it freely. Being generous with power* and usually quite self-confident, servant-leaders are comfortable delegating authority in the context of a given objective. (But they don’t delegate their ultimate responsibility for the end-result – that would be abdication.)
- Servant-leaders delegate to develop people. It certainly makes sense to delegate tasks as a matter of good prioritization or time management. The top leaders and managers do that each day. But servant-leaders recognize that experiential learning is also an excellent way to increase knowledge and wisdom. So, they use delegation as a way to grow people, professionally and personally.
- Servant-leaders delegate to build trust. One of the best way to build trust is . . . to trust people! And nothing says, “I trust you,” like good delegation. (As nothing says, “I don’t trust you,” like good delegation’s evil twin, micromanagement.) Good delegation communicates trust between delegator and delegate, of course, but it also communicates the delegator’s trust of the delegate to the wider team.
- Servant-leaders delegate to form more leaders. Migrating geese take turns leading their V-shaped flocks. Servant-leaders act like migrating geese when they delegate. Instead of holding on to the front of the flock, they delegate the front temporarily, and rest while watching another lead. This experience trains other flock-members as potential leaders and thereby increases the likelihood of everyone landing at the desired destination.
What do you think? Are there other reasons that servant-leaders delegate? Do you see it differently?
Let us know.
As always, we appreciate your views. Thanks!
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*Delegation is one of the three key practices of servant leadership in the workplace: Servant Leadership – 3 Workplace Practices
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