The Art of Delegation

One of the greatest traits of a good leader is the ability to empower and develop others. There are many ways this can be done, one of which is delegation. Often, we assume that as a manager, you would naturally delegate. However, it’s hard to do, especially if you have been promoted from a departmental role and are letting go of operational duties . . . or, if you are a perfectionist!

If you are struggling to let go of operational duties following a promotion, it’s likely because you know the job well and can do it quicker and more efficiently than your successor. It is also probably something you may have done for a long time so naturally, it is engrained in you.

If you are a perfectionist, you like things to be done right because you want to make sure everything at your club is running smoothly. By doing it yourself, you know it will get done ‘properly’ and to the standards you have set. But there are several things you should take into consideration.  By not delegating. . .

  • You run the risk of making your team feel undervalued and not empowered.
  • You have less time for projects and strategy.
  • You may have less time to spend with your team and members.
  • Your workload becomes undeliverable, and you may risk burnout.
  • It becomes harder to step away from the club for annual leave or education days.

In the paragraphs that follow, you will see the impacts of delegating effectively. Hopefully, the positives will overshadow the painful points of training and transitioning responsibilities!

Team Development

When someone is new to the role, it can be hard to ‘hand over the reigns’ but trust me, when that person becomes trained and settled in the role, great things can happen. Often, a ‘fresh pair of eyes’ comes up with new solutions, SOPs, and unexpected departmental enhancements.

There are surely things you have been holding on to that could benefit from more time, dedication, and delegation. Because you are too busy you maintain instead of progress! By giving responsibility and accountability to your team, they feel empowered to make decisions and find pride in their work.  Employees who are happy normally thrive in their roles and deliver to a higher standard.

Whilst someone is managing a department, they are constantly learning and developing, hopefully, both on the job and through a form of formal education. These growth opportunities can lead to incredibly high levels of satisfaction and improved staff retention.

If you are lucky enough to have a team member do so well that they leave the club to move into a more senior role, that is high praise for your work as a leader. Think about it, if you can support the growth of one person progressing into a bigger role, surely you can organize a process to help more, right!? A reputation for professional development for yourself and your organisation can be a foundational element of your recruitment strategy, attracting a pipeline of motivated and goal-oriented talent.

Stay Strategic

The job of a General Manager is to lead the team to achieve the club’s operational and strategic goals while delivering an exceptional member experience. If you can delegate and let managers manage, you are then able to take more time to review the operation, identify opportunities to enhance existing programs, and deliver major capital projects for the club. You can provide guidance, support, and training to your team so they can continuously improve and exceed member expectations.

Unique within the hospitality industry, in the club business members want to see their General Manager and build a relationship. By effectively delegating, you can spend more time connecting with the members, reviewing feedback, and understanding their feelings.  A strong awareness of member perspectives and values will most definitely contribute to your success as a leader.

Work-Life Balance

Empowering and trusting your team by delegating allows you to step away from the club for a holiday or a few days of education with confidence. It’s important to know you will go back to an operation that has continued to thrive when you are away so that you can make the most of your own personal and professional growth opportunities. Allowing yourself to switch off at times can be refreshing and allow you to perform at a higher level on your return. Stepping away for education and networking offers inspiration for yourself, and your team, and a positive ROI opportunity for your member experience.

Effective delegation should be positioned as a cornerstone of your leadership approach. By entrusting tasks to capable people, you will foster a culture of growth, collaboration, and meaningful commitment. You will be better positioned to focus on strategic initiatives that drive the club forward and achieve greater heights for all stakeholders, the membership, staff team and yourself.

Contributed by Michael Herd, Head of International Search & Consulting at KOPPLIN KUEBLER & WALLACE. Michael can be reached at [email protected] or