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How To Delegate: One Key Step Towards Leadership

Layne McDonald. Ph.D.

A leader knows what’s best; a manager merely knows how best to do it. -Ken Adelman

You have made an unusual discovery - there's not enough time left at the end of the day. The result, of course, is that your list of essential things to do never gets smaller. In any company, the CEO's to-do list has the potential to grow infinitely.

What is a senior executive to do?

This is not simply a personal problem. Your company's future depends on what you do next. As you drive your organization beyond its current plateau, you must change how you relate to your work. There are three stages to the transition from chief-cook-and-bottle-washer (CC&BW) to CEO (source of the management and direction of the business). They are:

* Understanding your highest value contribution to your company and focusing on that role.

* Recognizing your position as a leader and owning the job.

* Delegating everything else and holding others accountable.

The Issue:

You have doubtlessly concluded that your next level of company performance requires a managerial change. And hopefully, you have realized the changes necessary are with you. As CEO (or, on a divisional or departmental level - senior executive), your jobs include holding the vision, inspiring your senior management and your staff, fostering key relationships with customers, vendors, investors, the public, etc.

It would help if you now let go of cherished things like product design, hiring, and day-to-day sales - many things you managed in the past, often out of necessity - and focus on your role as CEO. What about all these things you used to do? Delegate them. Assign the job to someone else. This does not sound important. Why author an entire article on it?

Do you delegate? Of course, you do. But do you trust the important things? The things you "know" you could do better? The items you are "best" at? The question is, should you?

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