According to John Maxwell, the 10-80-10 principle is the key to maximizing your time and effort as a leader, and it largely involves delegation. Delegating is notoriously difficult. Releasing control over the individual tasks and roles that you will inevitably be judged by can be nerve-wracking for many leaders. But the fact of the matter is that you simply cannot be everywhere at once, and doing everything at the same time.
The 10-80-10 principle is used to describe 100 percent of a project. The first 10 percent is the beginning, the next 80 percent is the middle, and the last 10 percent is the end. Maxwell recommends leaders only get involved in the first and last 10 percent of the projects. The rest can and should be delegated to others. It might seem crass to take credit for the entirety of a project when your total effort only amounts to 20 percent of the work, but leadership is about setting others up for success, as well as yourself. Making sure your team has the resources and the direction they need to do their work is as critical as checking and fine-tuning where necessary at the end. That way you can take on more projects while still not being overloaded.
The First 10 Percent
The importance of good leadership in the beginning of a project cannot be overstated. You are investing your time to clearly outline the big picture, the objectives, the resources, and the responsibility of the project. Without these elements, no team can successfully take a project to completion. The leadership skills that put you at the head of the project are what your team needs from you in order to succeed. The majority of those skills come into play in the first 10 percent of a project.
The Middle 80 Percent
To really land a project, it’s great for the leader to jump back in for the last 10 percent of the work. This helps with quality control and ensures that the deliverable is meeting project expectations and lands well with the customer. That last 10 percent is the chance for a leader to provide valuable insight and experience to a project, as well as ask questions, provide ideas, and a voice of authority as well.