Delegate the Details!


The higher up the leadership ladder you go the less detail oriented you should be. If that seems counterintuitive to you then you just might be a micromanager!

This is a clear example of the “what got you here won’t keep you here” kinda thing that many motivational speakers talk about. When successful people first start out every detail matters to them. They know that it’s not really the devil in the details; they know that their success is in the details.

The challenge for these detail-oriented people is that as they move up in an organization the very details that helped them move up are now blocking their view of the bigger picture they should be seeing.

These successful people have clearly learned a lot from the people above them but they missed one huge lesson – leave the details to the people who will follow you into leadership positions.

Great leaders are not detail oriented but they used to be. That’s how they got to be great leaders. What keeps them being great leaders is trusting the people they lead with the details. Leaders set the vision, they pass along the big picture and determine outcomes.

When they delegate they provide coaching and the required outcome. They provide an outline of rules, budgets and resources and then they get the heck out of the way.

Great leaders help build more leaders by allowing their people to handle the details. Effective leadership means letting your people make little mistakes so that when they becomes leaders they won’t make big mistakes.

If you’re a micromanager then you’re costing your organization a lot of money and you are limiting the growth of future leaders. If you’re the top leader in your organization then micromanaging is really expensive. It’s really expensive because you’re wasting your time and your time is more valuable than anyone else’s. If you’re really a leader then you should not be doing a single thing that someone who works for you could be doing. You should only do the things that only you can do.

If you’ve hired the right people, if your people are honest, have integrity and are good stewards of their time then trust them. The outcomes of their actions remain your responsibility but the details are not.

Trust yourself that you have the right people doing the right things. If you can’t trust your people then your people will not trust you. Without trust, there can be no authentic leadership.

With the details out of the way you can see what you’re supposed to see, you can see the future.

4 thoughts on “Delegate the Details!

  1. Steve, this is an awesome post. I had to learn this the hard way. Although I didn’t consider myself a micromanager, I was in fact micromanaging my staff. I also learned that while I was doing what could be delegated, I wasn’t doing what I was supposed to be doing. Delegation is one of the best skills a leader can learn.

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