It’s easy to delegate jobs: a simple matter of discernment as to who has the best skillset for the task at hand, and sometimes a bit of chasing up. It’s harder to delegate responsibilities – to give others real ownership of what they are asked to do.

Picture of a cane and vine

Photo: VogliadiTerra, reused under CC license

When I’m delegating responsibilities:

  • there’s a time for training
  • there’s a time for feedback
  • but then, crucially, there’s a time for being happy with their work, and for being happy that it is their work.

That’s a part I can struggle with. Only a few days ago, I went back over someone else’s work to make tiny improvements; but if I keep on doing this, all I will have given them is a job to do – not a responsibility. And without delegating responsibilities, I’m not encouraging leaders to grow naturally from within my group: I’m stifling that growth.

Of course, there’s always excuses for stepping in: driving the standards up, “training”, achieving consistency over a wider project, etc. And if the mistakes are enormous, it’d be stupid not to. But sometimes, those are just excuses.

How do you make sure that you delegate responsibilities as well as jobs?