“They need to delegate more,” is a phrase we often hear when gathering feedback about leaders. While it may be easy to point out, the statement may not be as simple as it looks to act on.
 
Delegation is the pinnacle of situational leadership and leaders can miss the mark here as they enter this exciting phase of leadership if they haven’t brought the person through the other stages of leadership first.

What is Delegating and when do you use this style?


Your ultimate goal in delegation is to have create an empowered individual that has the capacity and confidence to take the task, assignment, or project to successful completion with little supervision. They are highly motivated, driven, and competent to get great results on their own.
 
Just like Supporting, this is very much a follower-driven stage of leadership. You are still “Inspecting what you expect,” but with little follow-up needed. While still need to Champion Success and celebrate their wins, you no longer need to praise every task or achievement.
 
With Delegation, you’ll want to start the process in less stressful times with lower risk in order for them to get comfortable and have a higher chance for success. You will also share more context about organizational goals and constraints so that they can make informed decisions and develop the best approach to reach the goal.

Why is Delegating an important part of your overall leadership?

Delegation is important because at this stage you have a highly skilled person who is very committed and well-developed in their role. As we’ve talked about building bench strength and the one-level-up concept getting people to the delegation phase is seeing this thought come to life.
 
A person at the delegation stage is highly effective in what they do and often contributes in a larger way to the team. They are also downright fun to lead and you have a high confidence that things are going to get done and get done well.
 
As we said at the open, you do need to delegate in order to realize your own full effectiveness and potential as a leader. These people will help take a load off you and act as multipliers in your influence over others.


What are some of the cautions of Delegation?


One of the main cautions of Delegation is that leaders sometimes want to jump straight to the delegation phase of leadership without taking the person through the previous three stages first. This is one of the reasons why someone can struggle with delegation. They may not have the relationship equity, confidence, or capacity to well in their role to be ready to excel at the delegation phase yet.
 
While many people have heard of micro-managers – leaders that are in every nook and cranny of your daily work routine, there is also a less talked about style at the other end of the spectrum; under-managing. Delegation is the go-to style for people who under-manage their team. “Say it and forget it” would be a way to sum up these leaders.
 
Be sure that you’ve walked through the other levels of leadership before arriving at delegation. Once you lead someone in this style, make sure that they have the full support and resources that they need to be successful.

Think back to your time as both a leader and follower. One of the most inconsistent things that a leader can do is to treat everyone the same. Your approach and style should adapt to the nuances and needs of each individual and their unique set of circumstances.  Use situational leadership styles to raise the level of excellence with all your team as they grow towards the future.
 
 
Make a better tomorrow.
-ZH