Delegation is a part of leadership that every leader needs to master in order to keep their team efficient, empowered, and successful. Delegation is also needed for the leader’s sake; you can’t (and shouldn’t) do everything by yourself.
Sometimes we don’t delegate enough, while others delegate too much. It’s important to find the right balance and ensure that you are delegating to your team in the right way.
Delegate for the right reasons
Before you delegate anything, you need to make sure that the need and want behind the delegation is aimed at the right purpose. Although delegation is critical to the success of the team and your personal leadership, it shouldn’t be done due to neglect or lack of interest.
Delegation should be used as a development tool for the person to grow in their current role. It’s also not “Delegate and forget it.” You still need to check in with the person that you have delegated the task to ensure that they feel comfortable with the ask, and are completing it to your expectations.
Set proper expectations
The person that you are delegating the task to needs to know exactly what the expectations are around timing, quality, and communication. They need to know what needs your input, what does not, and what are the boundaries and guardrails in place with the extra responsibility. Be crystal clear in this area, leaving no ambiguity for the person to stray from the path that they need to take in order to be successful.
Take time to share about accountability, and emphasize the importance of transparency (EP 305) and condor.
By setting clear expectations, your likelihood of getting frustrated or disappointed with the intended result will dramatically drop.
Set them up for success
In addition to knowing what the expectations are, the person also needs to have the tools and resources to be successful in taking on the task. The most important resource that you can give them is the authority necessary to get the task done. Without the authority, your person is going to have a much harder time getting the job done.
After you have given them the authority, communicate to others with whom the delegated task impacts to let them know that the employee will now be leading the task or job. This helps pave the way for the person with the delegated task as they reach out to partners to complete what’s asked of them.
Lastly, you need to ensure that they have the proper access, clearance, and equipment to get the job done.
Check for buy-in
Check with the person for their buy-in before you hand off the task to the person. You want to make sure that they feel confident that they can do the job, understand your expectations and feel like they have everything that they need to be successful.
Think of this as a final check-in before you send them out to conquer the new assignment. Answer questions, make adjustments and give clarification as needed.
Check-in, give feedback, and celebrate
Now that you have delegated the task, create a consistent cadence of check-ins to sure that things are going well. Your level of oversight and check-ins will largely depend on the person. Someone new will need to have a very regular cadence of check-ins while someone that has been around a while might appreciate fewer check-ins. Give the person feedback and again make adjustments as needed.
In the circumstance that a person still struggles with the tasks after multiple check-ins and coaching sessions, it may be time to give the task to someone else. It’s better to reassign the job than to let the person continue to struggle and the quality of the task continues to fall below expectations.
Don’t forget to celebrate their success at doing a job well done!
Delegate in the right way and your team will feel more empowered in their role and you’ll be on your way to achieving a healthy balance in your daily and weekly tasks.
Make a better tomorrow.