There is a point in very leader’s professional life when they cannot decide how much to let go- and how much to keep! It could be responsibility, or as some see it, power.
The decision demands some maturity and understanding of some key ideas. And of course, the ability to not confuse designation with personality, and responsibility with power.
A good leader will look at avenues to create growth roadmaps for themselves, but also their team. By delegating and creating key deliverables for everyone, based on the priorities that the organization faces, the CIO or any CXO for that matter, has the choice to free up some of their burden. This could lead to a better work life balance, some me-time, and also serve as training ground for the subordinates.
Most of all, this could be a first step for a succession plan- something most CXOs need.
The biggest advantage of delegating responsibility is the message that is sent to the team- about the CXO being interested in the professional and skilled growth of all of the subordinates. The boilerplate communications that all employees get about developing a career path with skills enhancement within the company- then have a solid backing of actions. This alone is the biggest advantage any CXO can have, in their team.
The leaders who trust delegating work to be the right way forward, also face doubts- will the job be done right? Will it be done fast enough? The only way to find out, however, is to go ahead and delegate! Once done, it leads to a building of unshakeable trust within the team, and the CXO is then surrounded by teams that he or she can actually depend on. The team trusts that their leader is setting them on a path to grow and that kind of faith can be the backbone of their own professional growth.
The path of this professional growth for their team, could lead right up to a smart succession plan with the best talent, properly trained. On the ground and on the job training imparts skills that will be needed for stepping into a leader’s shoes- agile thinking, business oriented decision making skills, and of course- the emotional quotient win. These are inevitably the most important skills anyone needs, before they can be a successor for a leadership position. And these can be acquired only by DOING it.
This holds especially true for IT leaders; a succession plan is vital for a CIO. With digital transformation happening at breakneck speed across verticals, no company can survive or even exist without a technology head. Vacations, sickness, family responsibility- any reason could keep a CIO from being available to their company for an average or even a prolonged period of time. Who then takes up the reigns of an organization that cannot run without the technology infrastructure? It has to be someone who has earlier done the work- even if in parts. Familiarity will happen only when during a delegation of jobs, the CIO has trusted some of his team members to deliver on a part of his own responsibility.
They can then become capable of handling the burden when the time comes.
So delegation is really a foundation for planning for a future, when the CIO is not available.
It is imperative for a CIO to prepare their team for such situations. The team also needs to understand the enormous trust the CIO is placing in them- by delegating critical tasks for them.
But for this they need to be sure there are at least some team members who have the required skills. There will be failures at delivering the perfect job, but those are a part of the entire learning process- both for the CIO and their team. Perhaps it will make the CIO realize that the hiring needs to be more focused on certain skills? Or that they need to identify base skills in some people, and work on those for more specialization, while there is still time?
And the team realizes that they need to step up their efforts in order to deliver, when their leader’s trust them to. This drives personal and professional development. This also helps to build stronger bonds of trust and loyalty. The end result could be a cohesive, growth ready team, that is prepared on delivering the best for their leader when need be.
Especially when need be!