One issue I find myself speaking with clients about frequently is delegation. Or more specifically, the challenge of Effectively Delegating. There are a few common reasons that leaders hesitate to delegate but in an informal (kind of an accidental) survey, it seems the #1 reason is that it's simply easier for them to do the task that was to be delegated. This often stems from a lack of trust in the individual that would be taking up the task. And drilling down further, the lack of trust is from perceived incompetence or proven incompetence.
To illustrate, a leader was sharing how he questioned why a board member would genuinely want to help. I shared that I find the subject of volunteerism to be a fascinating subject as it brings up several dichotomies. First off, there's the whole idea of recognition. While we as nonprofit professionals spend lots of time, energy and resources thinking of how to effectively recognize our best volunteers and donors, I've been grateful to find a major irony here. Our very best volunteers and donors don't care about acknowledgement. They are there out of a true sense of service and giving. This doesn't mean for a second that it's not a worthy endeavor to show our appreciation. Rather it's one of the wonderful aspects about working in a field where we see true generosity in action. And for no other reason that service.
So how do we start changing the perspective on delegation? What if we recognized that when we delegate, it's truly creating the most giving form of service. As leaders (or managers, supervisors) etc. when we delegate, we're truly being of service by showing confidence in those we delegate to. We're saying "we trust you and value you". Equally important, we're giving those we delegate to the chance to live out their their possibility for growth, mastery and expertise. And in the nonprofit field, when we entrust our volunteers and board members with sharing our work, we're providing them with an opportunity to live out their generosity of spirit.
It might be a bit of a cliche but the above way of thinking about delegation is truly a Win-Win for all. Give it a try.