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How to Delegate with Authority and Presence

< 1 min read

Strong leaders don’t “dump” their work on people.

Phones ringing. Inboxes overflowing. Colleagues and staff asking for your input. Leaders in our workshops often tell us that they wish they could manage their time more effectively. But how?

Why not delegate—with presence and authority?

Strong leaders don’t “dump” their work on people. They delegate in a way that makes their team feel that they are being presented with an opportunity to add value. This approach involves giving your full attention while describing the project so that the person taking it on feels recognized and motivated. It also requires good relationship-building skills and the ability to communicate your decisions in an effective and authentic way. All of these elements are contained in our PRES model for Leadership Presence.

Delegating with presence and authority

Next time you need help with your workload, try these suggestions:

1. Feed the relationship: “I was really impressed by your work last quarter—I’d like to set aside some time to talk about a new project that I think will interest you.”

2. Check in: “Can I share an idea I have?”

3. Ask for help with warmth: “I’ve been asked to get X done and I don’t have the bandwidth. Would you be able to help me out?”

4. Be present and listen: “I think this would be a great chance for you to learn some new skills and also gain visibility. How do you feel about managing X?” (then listen and address any concerns).

Approaching your team in this way helps balance the need to delegate—and shows your team that you’re truly invested in them.


This article was originally published on May 21, 2010 and was updated July 26, 2017 for accuracy.


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