Are You Handing Off Important Things to Teammates?

delegating to teammates and footballOctober is here, and that means that we are in the middle of Football Season!

For millions of fans who have been holding their breath and suffering through the desolation of late summer athletic programming, the next dozen weekends will be a feast of entertainment.

As a basketball coach, even I can appreciate the excitement that comes with fall – the smell of grass fields and tailgate grills, and the sound of pads colliding and whistles blowing.

But football season also brings with it a powerful reminder for managers and team leaders.

As you watch games over the coming weeks, pay attention to the quarterback.

In football he is the most important player – he touches the ball and makes decisions and controls the team’s offensive performance.

But the key lesson that great quarterbacks share with us as an audience of leaders is that he knows when to give the ball to others and allow them to carry it forward down the field.

The best quarterbacks don’t keep the ball themselves – they distribute it to ensure that others’ talents are taken advantage of, and to ensure that others on the team feel valuable as contributors to the team’s success.

In basketball, the point guard plays a very similar role.

In fact, I think you could conclude that the most powerful player on ANY team, if he or she is intelligent and wants to succeed, soon learns that the key to maintaining and growing their power is to give the ball to talented people and let them make plays!

Too often, though, weak leaders feel the need to clutch the ball tightly and do everything themselves.

That is a recipe for poor morale and a very tired leader.

The best leaders hand of important items on their to-do list for three reasons:

  1. It takes things off their to-do list so they can focus on vision and relationships
  2. It allows people on their team to feel a valuable part of the team
  3. It builds new leaders who have skills and confidence to take the reins in future games


If you are struggling to delegate items on your to-do list, you may find my handout “The 4 W’s of Delegating Tasks Successfully” very helpful.  It shares the four most important considerations and steps for developing the skill of delegation.

I hope you will consider grabbing a copy of my most recent book for yourself as well!

Rapid Teamwork is a leadership parable that shares the five essential steps for transforming any group into a great team.

If you haven’t grabbed a copy, I encourage you to get Rapid Teamwork for yourself or your favorite leader.

As a leader, I hope you pay attention to the quarterbacks that will be putting on their game uniforms over the next many weeks of the football season.  Notice how the most successful quarterbacks, like great leaders, know how to hand off or pass the ball to the talented people around them.

What types of things do you struggle to delegate?

I hope you will share your thoughts below in the comments –

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