“Don’t tell people how to do things, tell them what to do and let them surprise you with their results.” – George S. Patton
Delegation: I do not know a single successful leader who thinks they are great at it. Even those who focus on delegation still take on more than they should. My grandfather told me as a child, “You can only put five pounds in a five-pound bag until you have to start taking things out.” Many times, we have to remove the things that we are good at and enjoy so we can pursue what could be great. It is just like a vine: If we want to increase the crop and the quality of the grapes that are produced, we have to trim the vine. The vintner knows that they must remove those branches that produced healthy grapes last year to make room for this year’s harvest. Leadership is much the same.
I see a lot of leaders wait until they are stressed beyond capacity, then they begin to jettison responsibilities in order to gain some capacity and save themselves. That is not delegation or leadership. Great leaders understand that delegation is a decision, not an abdication. Take a good look at your calendar, and ask yourself an age-old question, “What is on my calendar that somebody else could do as well or better than I do it?” If we are being really honest with each other, you probably do not have the capacity to surpass what you are doing today and to drive excellence in your organization until you hand something over, until you trim your branches.
In my own experience, I have to ask myself, “What did people trust me with when I was young in my leadership that I’m not trusting people with today?” The fact of the matter is that nobody will be great at something until they do it. Unless you hired somebody who is a clone of you, they will not be as good or better than you until you give them a chance to succeed. That is what great leaders do; they empower their team to seek excellence. I am pleading with you, for the sake of your leadership, team and family, to comb through your calendar today and find what you are holding onto that is stopping you from being your greatest self, stopping your wine from being the best, stopping you from lifting up others, and make a change today.
Question: What is on my calendar that somebody else could do as well or better than I do it?