I know. It’s difficult.

Especially if you are a new leader who desperately wants to prove your worth and your abilities.

You want to take on every project.

You want to make sure people are taken care of over here and machines are fixed over there.

Being a leader can be like playing whack-a-mole—wherever you go, something else that you must do pops up elsewhere. But sooner or later, you realize that leadership is an unwinnable battle if you do it by yourself. Therein lies the need for this short guide to delegation.

When I started as a restaurant manager, I was exactly what I described above—new, desperate to prove myself, willing and able to do everything the restaurant needed. Sure, I worked hard. But I didn’t work smart. I wasn’t a micromanager, but I was always everywhere my employees could not be. I trusted them to do their jobs, while I took care of everything else, and within weeks, I was on the brink of burnout in a restaurant the size of a small cruise ship. Do not make this same mistake.

Think about delegation in terms of an executive branch of a federal government. The president cannot do everything (and some can’t do anything), so they have a cabinet of department leaders. They delegate responsibility to subordinates, who delegate responsibility to their subordinates, and so on.

Through chain-links of trust, the federal government runs on a foundation of delegation.

Former Navy SEAL Jocko Willink often says: if you want to be in charge of everything, then you should try to be in charge of nothing. Only when you have successfully delegated time-consuming tasks can you actually do the job of leading—zooming out, seeing three steps ahead, surveying the environment, and steering your ship in the right direction.

The truth is, there is no guide to delegation. It’s something you simply must do.

Good leadership requires empowering subordinates. It requires you to trust them with tasks that you normally do. It requires decentralized command and detachment, lest you will be swallowed up and spit out by the sheer amount and depth of responsibility of tasks inherent to leading and running an organization.

Some have said delegation is a necessary evil. But it’s not an evil at all. It may feel uncomfortable to let your subordinates do more of the work, but it is vital to the success of the whole.

Delegation over the long-term is a win-win. Your job becomes more manageable and your people become more competent. Remember, tunnel vision is for train conductors. You are not a train conductor. You are a captain of a ship.

Take a larger view.

Embrace delegation.

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