Delegate More and Do LessAs a leader, do you find yourself overwhelmed with the varied tasks it takes to run your organization?

Do you feel the need to be involved in all the daily inner workings and daily execution of tasks?

Then a solution might be at hand if you take the advice of J. Keith Murnighan, professor of management and organizations at the Kellogg School of Management.

In his book Do Nothing!: How to Stop Overmanaging and become a Great Leader, Murnighan advises to step back from your daily operations.

Delegate More

Empower your staff to handle and make the decisions that make the wheels go around in your organization.

This does several things:

  • It helps morale, giving your employees more responsibility and accountability, making them feel more fulfilled in their work;
  • Which ideally would decrease turnover, decreasing expenses for you and keeping your good people.
  • It reduces stress in your own life. Because now, you are freed up to do the things you should be doing such as envisioning, thinking strategically, and working on the business.

This is the key difference between being the boss and leading your organization.

Michael Gerber’s books revolve around the concept of working on your business rather than in your business, in other words, transitioning from a technician to a leader.

But back to Murnighan, he identifies the three key roles in leadership:

  1. Make decisions
  2. Negotiate
  3. Build the team

He claims that by focusing on these three skill sets, you then do nothing when it comes to the every day business. In other words, focus on getting your team to it’s maximum potential so it can do what it needs to do to be successful without relying on your presence.

This isn’t an easy thing to do because more than likely, if you are leading an organization, you are doing it because you are passionate about the work the organization does. You’ve risen to the top, or founded it because of the mission. But now, you are leading and your role changes significantly, away from the technical aspects of the work and more towards the strategic outlook.

So How Do You Make the Shift?

  • Hire well. Not only should you be hiring super stars but make sure they are in jobs, doing the things that match well with their skill sets.
  • Trust your employees. This is hard and it involves a leap of faith. Show your trust in employees by giving them projects to run with. They will take the role seriously.
  • Stay involved. Don’t disappear just because you’ve delegated. Be present, and walk around the organization. Meet the employees and talk to them. Show that you care. It provides great motivation.

What will this accomplish? It frees you up to watch the bigger picture. Now you can think about the future, your long-term plans, innovating, and staying ahead of industry trends. It creates a motivated and productive team which in the end, is a reflection on the leader.

What do you think? Do you agree with Murnighan's assertions? Can you let go?