The Art of Delegation: The Superpower all Great CFOs Need to Use

You have been in a finance role as the technical expert for quite a few years now. You can create magic with numbers. And now you have stepped up into a leadership role. Something you have been aspiring to do for a while because you love what you do, and you know deep down that you can do a good job as a leader.

However, now you are going to more meetings, including those with members of your team, so that you stay across everything and make sure the team is getting it right. You’re starting work earlier, finishing later, then working again after the family is in bed.  You’ve spent the weekend trying to catch up on the work you didn’t get done last week.

You’re stuck in a vicious cycle of reacting, redoing, and responding. Quite simply, this is because people new to managing are not usually taught to how to level up. The fact is, you are operating at a level too low. You are too immersed in the detail, which means you are pushing your team down and they are operating at a level below where they should be.

Levelling up takes is a mindset shift and learning the new skill of delegation.

Delegation is the unsung superpower that memorable leaders use.

Effective delegation means you can start focusing on doing less of the work that your team should be doing, building their capability so they can perform better, and allowing them to take on more responsibility.

The person you were in your previous, technical finance role must morph into another style of person. You need to approach things differently to lead the team well, so that you’re all performing at the right level. This is about letting go of what you used to do.

When done well, delegation allows you to focus on the work appropriate for your pay grade and leads you to becoming a memorable leader. It’s about being prepared to: let go of your perfectionism; your need to control everything; and the need to stay across the smallest details of what your team is doing.It reduces the risk of feeling overwhelmed and burning out and allows you to start to shine as a leader. Your team wants to be able to learn from you and be inspired to level up as well. You start to get some time back in your day to start focussing on that higher value, future focused work you didn’t have time for before, and more time outside of work to relax and rejuvenate.

You will start to be noticed for the good work you and your team are doing and your career will start to soar.

Effective delegation is, at its simplest, about trust.

Yet it is not so simple. If trust is in place, in terms of understanding their capability, you will feel comfortable delegating. If that trust isn’t in place, or you don’t have enough evidence of their capability, you will be reluctant to hand over work.

If you delegate and you are worried this person won’t do the task to your satisfaction, you will start looking over their shoulder to check what they are doing, contacting them daily, getting them to redo work, or even take it back off them – so you can do it ‘properly’. As a result, you can turn into a micromanager and even a bit of a control freak!

Trust can be built when you focus on how you are communicating with the team.

Use the following questions to be clear about what you want to delegate. These are essential Ingredients for clear instructions – which I use extensively when teaching people how to delegate.

Directions, rationale, and outcomes: Have you explained the task carefully, including the reason for completing this and the outcomes you expect once completed?

Authority: What is the range of decision making & responsibility allowed before they must come back to you for approval?

Deadline and follow up: When is the task to be completed and what are the checkpoints to review progress along the way?

Feedback and support: Do they understand what you are asking them to do? Do they know the levels of support available to them to complete this work?

When you step into your superpower and use delegation the right way productivity increases, as does team engagement and collaboration, as they take on more responsibility. This is leading, which requires new skills, so be prepared to become a learner again.

Maree Burgess, author of Level Up ($29.95), is a trainer, coach, facilitator, author and speaker whose practicality supports leaders and teams to create cultures that people want to be part of and perform at their best for, to greatly improve overall performance. Obsessed with building environments of excellence where staff collaborate and work well together, she is renowned for bringing out the best in teams and individuals alike.

Find out more at www.mareeburgess.com