Leading by rolling up your sleeves

Are you a leader that will roll up your sleeves, get in there and make things happen?

More importantly, do you know when to not get in there and muck about?

I had an instructor once who spoke about the difference between delegation and abdication. She really helped me understand the difference between rolling up your sleeves only when I needed to and always putting yourself in a place to have to.

Delegation – Assigning duties to someone, providing parameters and having them meet scheduled milestones.

Abdication – Assigning duties to someone, and getting mad when the result doesn’t turn out the way you secretly wish it did.

What’s the key difference? Set expectations.

For instance, when I was in charge of Marketing for my Toastmasters District, I would have to delegate Demonstration Meetings for prospective clubs (groups that wanted to start a new club). I let the lead know how many people and what roles needed to be filled, gave some advice on certain skill sets, and required them to provide me a draft agenda three weeks out and a final agenda two weeks before the event.

If they missed the first milestone, I could roll up my sleeves and help them finish the draft (getting the last few volunteers to sign up). That way we didn’t miss the second deadline, or have a poorly planned event.

Rolling up your sleeves at the right time can help your team be more successful, and setting the right parameters up front can make sure you only have to do it when absolutely necessary.

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