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Recently I read a very interesting part of a chapter in Stephen Covey‘s book ” The Seven Habits of Highly effective people” that deals with delegation. Before I start talking about delegation, let me introduce you to Covey’s book: Covey wrote this book in the eighties and publish it in 1990, it was a ground-breaker when it was first published, it continues to inspire and lead people all around the globe with over 10 million copies sold so far. In this book, Covey explains the seven habits that effective people follow to live a positive successful life.

So what is delegation?

To delegate is to assign to others certain jobs or tasks to perform. When we think about delegation we often think about it in terms of companies and employees, but delegation can extend to more than that, it can include families, associations and friends.

Covey considers that “we accomplish all that we do through delegation – either to time or to other people. If we delegate to time, we think efficiency. If we delegate to other people, we think effectiveness.”

He also points out that “many people refuse to delegate to other people because they feel it takes too much time and effort and they could do the job better themselves. But effectively delegating to others is perhaps the single most powerful high-leverage activity there is.”

Don’t we know a numerous number of people who simply refuse to give us any work to do because they can do it better? Aren’t we all to a certain limit familiar with the concept of  “My team isn’t good enough, so I prefer to do everything by myself”?

Covey continues that “transferring responsibility to other skilled and trained people enables you to give your energies to other high-leverage activities. Delegation means growth, both for individuals and for organizations. The late J.C. Penny was quoted as saying that the wisest decision he ever made was to “let go” after realizing that he couldn’t do it all by himself any longer. That decision, made long ago, enabled the development and growth of hundreds of stores and thousands of people.”

How hard is it to let go? How long do we need to arrive to such a decision?

“The ability to delegate to others is the main difference between the role of manager and independent producer.”

“A producer does whatever is necessary to accomplish desired results. But when a person sets up and works with and through people and  systems to get the desired results, that person becomes a manager in the interdependent sense. A parent who delegates washing the dishes to a child is a manager. An architect who heads a team of other architects is a manager. A secretary who supervises other secretaries and office personnel is an officer manager.”

“A producer can invest one hour of effort and produce one unit of results, assuming no loss of efficiency. A manager, on the other hand, can invest one hour of effort and produce ten or fifty or a hundred units through effective delegation.”

So do you want to be a producer or a manager ? Be what you want, as long as you are happy.

In my coming post I will talk about the several types of delegation. How many types there are in your opinion?

Thank you 🙂