12Push Work Down—Delegation

Delegation is one of the core reasons my Manager Tools cofounder Mike Auzenne did so well as an executive. He recognized early as a software development manager that his job had changed from solving technical problems to making others more effective so they could solve problems. His job had changed from one about technology to one about people. When he continued to get promoted, he realized that his job had changed again—from leveraging others' technical skills to leveraging others' people skills. And he found that if he hired or promoted the right people, he could trust them to take on more and more responsibility. And he delegated more and more responsibilities to them over time to help them grow.

Mike realized he individually was able to do more because he himself had been trusted with more to do along the way. He benefited enormously from his bosses giving him more to do.

Learning to delegate is part of the transition to becoming an executive. Too many managers today think that because they are smarter and more effective at getting things done than their directs, they should try to get more done by doing it themselves. This isn't sustainable, and I've seen the failure scenario play out a hundred times. An up and coming manager does more and more themselves (likely working ever longer hours) and gets a reputation as someone who gets things done. Finally they get what they think of as “the big promotion”—to the executive level. And two years later, ...

Get The Effective Manager now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.