Developing long-term focus on primary objectives is a feat of both discipline and maturity. The mission was clear at first. But then, unexpected growth and a bloated organizational chart muddy the water. A goal that was once distinct subtly transforms into a forgotten slogan on a faded t-shirt.

The most difficult victories require endurance more than strength.

And one of the biggest obstacles to endurance is distraction.

For leaders of organizations and teams, distraction can be what differentiates between failure and success. But at the highest level, distractions do not appear in the form of an iPhone app or a hobby gone wild. Committed leaders have already put such trivialities in their place.

The writer of the Proverbs knew distractions can pull us from the highest pursuit of wisdom. Keeping the reader from other lesser pursuits was the basis of his passionate plea in chapter 8.

Hear instruction and be wise, and do not neglect it. Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors.” (Proverbs 8:33-34)

“Don’t neglect it.” “Watch daily.” These words describe a committed, undistracted person, resolved to follow through with only the most important undertakings.

However, even a seasoned manager may still fall prey to a certain kind of distraction — a failure to delegate.

Holding onto too many tasks rather than assigning them will hinder a leader from focusing on mission-critical responsibilities.

The upside down business idea is this: Letting go may be the wisest way to move forward.

But don’t just delegate. Do it correctly.

According to Harvard Business Review, these are the 8 marks of successful delegation:

  • Pick the right person.
  • Be clear about what the person is responsible for and how much autonomy they have.
  • Describe the desired results in detail.
  • Make sure the team members have the resources they need to do the job.
  • Establish checkpoints, milestones, and junctures for feedback to avoid micromanaging and under-leading.
  • Encourage new, creative ways for team members to accomplish goals.
  • Create a motivating environment. Successful delegators know when to cheerlead, coach, step in, step back, adjust expectations, make themselves available, and celebrate successes.
  • Tolerate risks and mistakes, and use them as learning opportunities, rather than as proof that they shouldn’t have delegated in the first place.

According to Proverbs, it is the undistracted, relentless pursuit of wisdom that creates better leaders. “By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly.” (Proverbs 8:15-16).

Get rid of distractions with strategic delegation. Then you can get back to your primary objectives.

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