Lead others on your team to replicate your system but be the one who sets the stage for how you create a diverse, strong and effective team

As a leader, it is no surprise to hear someone say that teaching others is one of your core responsibilities.

When it comes to delegation it is important to remember there is a big distinction between giving the work you do to someone who you work with and teaching them.

Creating a high functioning team is exciting and challenging; it’s also a never-ending project. Your team needs to be continuously cultivated and developed. Do not leave this up to someone else. This is your masterpiece.

Lead others on your team to replicate your system but be the one who sets the stage for how you create a diverse, strong and effective team.

“If you want to do a few small things right, do them yourself. If you want to do great things and make a big impact, learn to delegate.” — John C. Maxwell

Remember when you were starting out and someone took you under their wing? Maybe you saw them as your mentor or they just had a big impact on your career, but one way or another this person was able to teach you many important things. You were so happy to be given more responsibilities and more work. You saw this as an exciting development.

That’s the attitude you need to have when you are delegating assignments in your workplace. It’s your roll as the leader to develop your team and the primary way you develop your team is to train them. The best way to train them is to give them challenging assignments that help them learn and grow.

Your turn

Just like your development and those special individuals who showed you the way, now it’s your turn. Your job is not to do the work; your core responsibility is to develop your team and create a high level of communication within your department and within your business. Your currency is communication.

I remember a boss of mine when I was an assistant controller. I had been doing the job for six months or so and it was going well. I was learning a lot and was challenged, fueled by the new knowledge and responsibilities.

My boss Michael came to me and handed me a report that he had always done and said, “I’m giving this to you to complete from now on. Have a look and let me know if you have any questions, and when you are done let’s review it before it is sent to corporate—by the way it’s due next Tuesday.”

I was a little tired or something and I said, “I thought that was your responsibility.”

He smiled and said (and I will never forget these words), “David, it’s my job to decide who is ready for more challenges.”

“If you are half as smart as I think you are, you will do the same.”

WOW – that really got my attention!

Did that mean that I could do the same? YES, it did, and now things were getting interesting!

Make sure when you hire and coach your team members they understand, embrace and replicate the same philosophy. Make it your goal to ensure everyone knows and can perform as many functions as possible.

Cross training is a way to ensure that your team members are always growing and challenged. It’s like having and embracing a culture where everyone chips in and participates. There are many great advantages to this. Vacations are easily covered, turnover is less because people have more to learn, and job satisfaction increases.

Remember, when you add skills and abilities to your team members you are enriching their lives because they now have greater abilities. They are actually worth more now because you have added to their skill set.

This is what your team really wants. They don’t want things to be easier, they want to be challenged. This is the distinction you need to embrace and transplant into each player. You set a high bar for your team members and they respect you for this. Because of your system to cross utilize and train, communication is automatically higher because people now know each others’ core responsibilities.

Delegation is a mechanism to lead and teach and it allows your leadership to establish and grow.

Teaching delegation and making it part of your team’s skill set and culture is magic.