Sunday, April 10, 2005

Delegate, Delegate Delegate

I have been thinking about delegation .

In my experience in healthcare management the culture was something like

'Hold on to information to justify your position in the pecking order.'

The ownership of information was power.

As I got older I realised what absolute rubbish that is and I invented a motto;

'The best way to gain power is to let go of power"

In other words give away as much as you can - let other people do bits of your job - they usually do it better.

This frees you up to get on with things you should be doing - looking at the wider picture - the direction - the vision.

I always felt like this when I worked in the large organisation but I could only change the little bit I worked in.

Now I am working for myself and looking 'in' - I realise even more vividly that old control concept is simply folly.

Here's to delegation - celebrate it

Work to make yourself redundant and there's a real chance you will never be redundant.

I know that is a paradox but I firmly believe you will always be a marketable product if you work to make yourself 'not required.'


Anonymous said...

To truly gain power one has to be secure enough to give away. Only then does one truly have power as it will multiply in returning. great thought.

/pd said...

Power is the same as letting the chicken out from the shell. If the shell is too hard, then the Chicken can;t break free and the cycle of Chicken/Egg can not continue. !!

Secondly one should not confuse power with leadership. JEANE J KIRKPATRICK says it best "Power.. it snot an end in iself, but its an instrument that must be used towards the end" !!

Understanding that difference is leadership else its tyranny !! -Mucho Difference :)-

Trevor Gay said...

Thanks guys - appreciate your comments

Anon - I agree to let go of power you need to feel secure but that comes with practice and letting go is actually easier than we think. Trust underpins delegation.

Peter - Regarding confusing power and leadership - my own view is the greatest leaders do not have power as their main motivator - they just want things to happen.

My greatest leadership role models are always humble and not power crazed.

Brilliant discussion

Rocky Noe said...

I think that leadership is power. What one chooses to do with that power is another story. One can horde it or one can share it. I suppose there are sorts of things in between. I believe very much that leadership is power and that the leader either inspires others or tries to control others. people want to be inspired by greatness. that is why we movie stars, sports stars and legends, rock stars and business leaders. that is why there is a market for great leaders to sell their ideas in books and seminars. People want to be inspired by greatness. They want to have the magic pill that will make them like successful people. They act like them, walk like them, dress like them and try their strategies. However, most people will settle for mediocrity. It is easier. that is why there is a market for get rich schemes, herbal pills that are supposed to exercise for you etc... I think there are great leaders, there are more than enough poor leaders, and there con artist. But I would disagree that leadership and power are different things. I think they are one, but carried out in many different ways.

Trevor Gay said...

Rocky - I love your comment "I think there are great leaders, there are more than enough poor leaders, and there con artists"

I think I have met ONLY ONE person I would call a 'great' leader in my professional work life.

I have met many poor leaders (they often believe they are good leaders!!)

I have met even more con artists who will never aspire to being even 'average' leaders

What a wonderful way to break down leaders into three categories Rocky

Well done again my friend


AJ said...

"To be given everything, give everything up."
I used to think that was an exaggeration or hyperbole. But increasingly I think it is quite literal (and wise) advice.

But I think it takes great courage to do this. We are trained to horde control. When we gain a bit of power, our conditioning tells us to hold on to it and exploit it.

To be a "superior" and give power to those "below" you is not normal in our society. Most can't imagine doing such a thing.

But I agree with you... if the mental shackles can be broken, its an amazingly transformative act. I've had a little experience with this in the social work field and have been astounded by the results.

Great post.

Trevor Gay said...

Thank you AJ - you make perceptive points

I believe this is all in the mind -if we genuinely believe in delegation then we let go of whatever power we have.

Sure it takes courage and belief but the rewards are wonderful.

I have always been astounded by the results when I have really let go of the power I have in management positions throughout my career.

Another of my beliefs is

'Your staff know all the answers, all the time'

I firmly beleive this - managers and leaders should give staff freedom - trust your staff and you you will be staggered by what they achieve - leaving you to concentrate on other things that interest you.

In TE Lawrence 'Seven Pillars of Wisdom' there is a wonderful quote

"If it doesn't work without you - it doesn't work"

Amen to that I say

Thanks for you support AJ


Rocky Noe said...

Great Leaders, Poor leaders, and con artist. I left off "Pretenders".

Trevor Gay said...

Amen to that Rocky

vkn said...

Great discussion folks.. Thanks Trevor for the post. It made me think why to delegate?

Here are a few good reasons to delegate:

1. To build individual confidence and increase motivation.
2. To share the power and responsibility.
3. To provide growth experiences and to model the value of skill
4. To create a sense of importance and belonging for the employee.
5. To encourage independence, initiative, and creative problem solving.


Trevor Gay said...

Great response Vijay

I agree with your five points and would add a couple more for folks to think about;

To get work done more efficiently through a 'new pair of eyes'

To show you trust your staff

Thanks so much for visiting my Blog - please keep posting your comments