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Why Delegation Is A Critical Leadership Skill

Good leaders lead in a way that makes people want to follow them. They hold a clear vision for the organization and successfully transmit it to the organization, both in strategy and action. Unfortunately, some CEOs and other leaders do a great job with both strategy and vision but then struggle to step back and let the organization implement the strategy without the leader needing to be overly involved. 

What Happens When A Leader Is Not Effective At Delegating? 

Micromanagement often looks like the leader feeling (and sometimes saying so explicitly) that they need to be consulted before final decisions are made and action taken on projects that could (and should) be handled by a lower-level member of the team.

Adverse effects from CEOs and other leaders micromanaging include: 

  • Workaholism/ burnout for the leader
  • Important projects are delayed waiting for the CEO
  • Reduced innovation and lower quality work because the leader’s expertise and perspective are overvalued relative to others in the company
  • Reduced employee engagement and costly high turnover flowing from employees feeling like their work doesn’t matter in a meaningful way

The biggest reason leaders struggle with delegation is often that the leader is simply personally uncomfortable letting go of responsibility and may be oblivious to that reality. 

How Does The Enneagram Influence Our Ability To Delegate? 

For Enneagram Threes, this bias is often the result of a self-image that for them to be seen as successful (their core ego need), they must be seen as being heavily involved in all or most of the workings of the organization.

Enneagram Eight leaders can be in a similar place because their sense of personal value comes from productivity such that anything that any project can look like an opportunity for them to “get it done,” reinforcing their ego strategy.

Enneagram Ones can also have a hard time delegating coming from a perfectionistic bias that “if you want something done right, do it yourself.” 

Executive coaching can be powerful in helping leaders build self-awareness around how they may be getting in their own way by having their strength of engaged leadership tip over into micromanagement. 

Contact us at ben@benjaminpapa.com to schedule a free strategy session to help you think through how building your delegation muscle can improve business success as well as your happiness at work.