Purposeful delegation is one of the three distinctive practices of servant-leaders in the workplace.*
Why is purposeful delegation so important?
For one thing, it’s the best way to develop people.
Here’s a quote making that point, which is often attributed to Benjamin Franklin:
“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn.”
The so-called “cone of learning” is a related version of the same idea:
“People generally remember 10% of what they read, 20% of what they hear, 30% of what they see, and 90% of what they do.” **
In short, people grow and develop best by doing.
And because the growth and development of people is a priority of servant-leaders in the workplace, it stands to reason that purposeful delegation is vitally important.***
We add the qualifier “purposeful” to emphasize what distinguishes servant-leaders from other delegators at work.
Servant-leaders delegate intentionally, mindfully – and purposefully – with the goal of helping others to grow and develop.
Sometimes that means accepting a slower turnaround time so people can learn a new skill. Sometimes that means pushing people out of their comfort zones. Sometimes that means trusting people to do a project as they see best and not micromanaging them.
Poor leaders would fail to see the value in sacrifices like those.
But servant-leaders know that any short-term pain that may come from purposeful delegation is worth the long-term gain in staff development.
For as Booker T. Washington so rightly said:
“Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him [or her].”
What do you think? Do you agree that with my assessment of purposeful delegation and servant leadership?
Let us know.
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* The other two practices of servant-leaders in the workplace are extreme listening and connecting followers to a mission: “Servant Leadership – 3 Workplace Practices”
** There are many versions of the “cone of learning” and, as I understand it, little science behind any of them. Nonetheless, the broader point seems hard to dispute: experiential learning is superior to other ways of learning.
*** The other two priorities of servant-leaders in the workplace are building a trusting team and achieving results: “Servant Leadership – 3 Workplace Priorities”