Leading vs. Delegating vs. Doing

Many women entrepreneurs reach a point where they realize they can’t manage all aspects of their company single-handedly. Consequently, they must promote individuals to leadership or managerial roles or hire experienced professionals. However, elevating individuals to leadership positions doesn’t always yield the desired results. Issues persist, and entrepreneurs find themselves wondering why tasks aren’t completed efficiently. The purpose of a leadership team is to distribute workload, but if you’re still micromanaging, things are bound to fall through the cracks. In this blog post, we’ll explore why this happens and discuss alternatives for better leadership.

Leading, Delegating, and Doing: What’s the Difference?

When promoting someone to a leadership role, your expectation is clear: they should lead, manage, and hold their team accountable. This involves ensuring that tasks are completed correctly and efficiently. However, many leaders falter in this regard, and it’s essential to identify why.

1. Delegating Without Leading

One common mistake is promoting individuals who are more inclined to delegate than lead. Delegating does have its merits: it lightens the workload and ensures that work is being distributed. However, it often results in more hands-on management, including constant status checks, explanations, and quality control. This can be inefficient and inhibits the growth of your staff, who remain task-oriented rather than outcome-oriented.

Benefits of Delegating:

– Lightens the workload for leaders and business owners.

– Ensures staff involvement in task execution.

Drawbacks of Delegating:

– Requires extensive hands-on management.

– Focuses on tasks rather than outcomes.

– Hinders staff growth and decision-making.

– Inefficient use of leadership time.

– Creates bottlenecks within the organization.

2. Doing Instead of Leading

Another challenge arises when leaders assume that to get things done, they must do the tasks themselves. This typically occurs when leaders are more comfortable executing tasks than explaining or coaching others to do them. While this approach ensures tasks are completed correctly, it is an inefficient use of leadership time, preventing them from fulfilling their core responsibilities.

Benefits of Doing:

– Ensures tasks are completed correctly.

– Tasks are executed efficiently.

Drawbacks of Doing:

– Inefficient use of leadership time.

– Prevents leaders from focusing on higher-level responsibilities.

– Leads to frustration, disconnection, and high turnover among staff.

– Hinders company culture.

– Results in overpayment for tasks that should be handled by lower-level staff.

The Ideal Leadership Approach: Coaching, Directing, Overseeing, and Tracking

To truly elevate your leadership team and maximize efficiency, leaders must adopt a coaching, directing, overseeing, and tracking (CDOT) approach. Here’s how it works:

1. Coaching: Leaders guide and teach their staff, enabling them to think, operate, and function effectively within their roles. This empowers staff to make informed decisions and take ownership of their tasks.

2. Directing: Instead of assigning tasks, leaders assign outcomes or goals. Staff members are given the autonomy to determine how to achieve these outcomes, promoting a sense of ownership and responsibility.

3. Overseeing: Leaders ensure that staff are on the right track, provide support when needed, and facilitate problem-solving. This helps staff work independently, reducing the need for constant supervision.

4. Tracking: Leaders monitor outcomes and performance. If things aren’t working as expected, leaders can step in to provide guidance, enabling continuous improvement.

Benefits of the CDOT Approach:

– Staff understands the bigger picture and purpose of their work.

– Tasks become outcome-focused rather than task-focused.

– Staff members learn and grow in their roles, becoming better decision-makers.

– More work is accomplished with better outcomes.

– Leaders can trust their staff to handle tasks independently.

In women-owned businesses, effective leadership is essential for growth and success. Promoting individuals to leadership roles should be based on their ability to lead, not just on seniority. A leadership team that adopts the coaching, directing, overseeing, and tracking approach can guide the organization to higher levels of efficiency, allowing everyone to focus on strategic objectives.

Consider reading a recent post on Accountability, where we dive deeper into what it means to lead, manage, and hold people accountable, exploring specific tactics and innate abilities that contribute to effective leadership.