Delegating for the Benefit of You and Your Team
Why do you avoid delegating?
Do you dread the time it will take to train others?
Do you struggle to trust that your team will meet your standards?
Do you assume that the task will resurface on your desk anyway?
Are you prone to fill your plate with tasks that are in your comfort zone out of fear of a bigger challenge?
Whatever your reason, by not delegating, you are creating several risks for yourself and your team:
· Unnecessary stress and burn-out
· Lack of contingency plans
· Stalling your career by not making room to tackle more value-added tasks
· Hoarding opportunities from others to learn and grow
· Instilling a lack of trust and confidence in your team
Delegation is an important leadership skill. Become an effective delegator by starting with a plan:
1. Identify task to delegate. What tasks are currently on your plate that you could complete with your eyes closed? If you’ve mastered it, it’s time to pass it on.
2. Select the right person. What are your team members’ strengths, opportunities, and career ambitions? Which team member would this task be best suited for? For best results, select someone who would be challenged to work at the edge of their capabilities to complete the task. If they already have a full plate, work to distribute the work to other team members.
3. Plan. Provide context and instructions. Determine the appropriate training schedule (if necessary) and share resources. Clearly communicate expected outcomes and deadlines.
4. Establish a performance agreement addressing responsibility, authority, and accountability. You can delegate various degrees of authority to make decisions, depending on the team members’ confidence and experience level. For instance, you might want them to do the research, present pros and cons then wait for your decision. Or you might delegate the authority for them to do the research, make the decision then run it by you for your endorsement. Whatever level of authority you give, make sure you clearly communicate your expectations. At the end of the day, you will still be mutually responsible for ensuring the work gets done and accountable for the results.
5. Follow-up. Determine and communicate an appropriate follow-up schedule to demonstrate the importance of the task and to ensure progress is made and the work is completed to your expectations.
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