Delegation also benefits the people delegated to
The benefits of delegation are often phrased in terms of time savings for the person delegating. But that misses the point. In fact, delegating well often requires a substantial time investment, at least at the start.
The reason to delegate is for the positive effects both on the person you are delegating to and on the wider team.
There is plenty of evidence that delegating leads to long-term improvements in the employee's performance 1. By delegating a task or responsibility that is both important to the organisation and achievable for the team member, you build their sense of purpose at work. They feel like what they do has impact. In turn, this greater sense of purpose leads to greater motivation, which leads to both better task performance 2, more trust in your leadership, more feedback seeking, and a greater motivation to learn . This cycle then repeats itself: you are more likely to delegate increasingly complex tasks, leading to greater motivation and growth.
But that's not all: this motivation is contagious. Other team members are likely to be energised, leading to, over time, a more performant team.
So don't delegate because you have too much on your plate. Delegate because it's the right way to build a strong team.
- Zhang, Xiyang, Jing Qian, Bin Wang, Zhuyun Jin, Jiachen Wang, and Yu Wang. ‘Leaders’ Behaviors Matter: The Role of Delegation in Promoting Employees’ Feedback-Seeking Behavior’. Frontiers in Psychology 8 (2017): 920. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2017.00920.↩
- Chen, Gilad, Bradley Kirkman, Ruth Kanfer, Don Allen, and Benson Rosen. ‘A Multilevel Study of Leadership, Empowerment, and Performance in Teams’. The Journal of Applied Psychology 92 (1 April 2007): 331–46. https://doi.org/10.1037/0021-9010.92.2.331.↩