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National president's message.

Leadership is not the process of accomplishing great things by ourselves, while gaining the respect of our employees. Rather it is the process of accomplishing great things through our employees, thereby raising their self-respect. Leadership also involves more than simply overseeing or directing others. It involves developing employees' skills through delegation.

A leader must identify an employee's special abilities and make use of them. But he or she must also identify the weak areas and limitations of employees and be willing to help strengthen them. Managers who place a priority on developing their own skills and abilities while ignoring the needs of their employees are not usually effective leaders. In one way, a leader is not a superior. Leaders should not consider themselves superiors in respect to attitude, but only in respect to their position in the organization's hierarchy. Positional power gives the manager the right to give orders; however, it's the personal power earned by being considerate to and respectful of others that gives him or her the right to expect those orders to be carried out effectively. A leader's job is to continually develop the people who report to him or her to such an extent that they could eventually perform delegated tasks better than the leader.

For many managers, this necessitates a change in philosophy. Our natural tendency is to make ourselves look good, not others. But an effective leader's goal is to make the employees look better. In actual fact, what will happen is that the better your employees become, the better you will look. After all, they report to you -- and if they're that good, think how good you must be.

It takes self-confidence to be an effective leader. There's an element of personal risk in accepting the bulk of the blame for a job poorly done when, in fact, it is another person's error. It takes self-confidence to pass along praise to your employees when the temptation is to soak up some of the credit yourself. But a leader's job is to lead. Leadership is accomplishing great things through continually developing the skills and abilities of the people being led.

And this is impossible without delegation.

The preceding paragraphs are from the first chapter of Harold Taylor's book "Delegation". Although the book was published 10 years ago, the ideas and concepts are certainly still true today. Delegation is one of the most beneficial skills a manager of today can master.
COPYRIGHT 1993 Canadian Institute of Management
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Jackson, W.
Publication:Canadian Manager
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Jun 22, 1993
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