Sunday, November 28, 2010

Delegation – how do I accept the result?

Delegation is a skill of which we have all heard - but which few understand. It can be used either as an excuse for dumping failure onto the shoulders of subordinates, or as a dynamic tool for motivating and training your team to realize their full potential.
(Palsgrave 1530)

  1. You have to know what it is you want to delegate (what is the job?)
  2. You have to know who to delegate to (who can do the job?)
  3. You have to dare to let go of the task (do I trust anyone else to do this?)
  4. You have to be able to specify what your expected result is (what is the product?)
  5. You have to ensure that the result is acceptable afterwards (Is this good enough?)

After you have done all the good work of Delegation, there comes a moment which is NOT easy. Ann comes to you with the result and you have to evaluate. You probably have noticed that the result is NOT exactly like what it would have been if you did it yourself.

This is a very important leadership moment. You have to make a choice. Is it good enough?

Why did you delegate in the first place? Look at the quote above: “(delegation) can be used … as a dynamic tool for motivating and training your team…”

Instead for asking what is wrong with the result, have a conversation with Ann. Discuss what could be improved. Give suggestions. (If you don’t have suggestions, does that show that you couldn’t do it better yourself?)

Is it completely unacceptable? Why? What went wrong in the whole process? There are 4 preceding steps. Were all of them impeccable from your side?

This is team work. Learn to love the process of having the conversations with your team on how to become better. There is always an improvement to be made next time.

I’ll quote my friend Endre:

I remember a story about a Japanese manager who got an important report in his hands. After reading the report he looked at his employee, smiled and said: “This is very good, now let’s see if we can make it even better”. This is a very different approach with a very different outcome. This approach shows respect for the person and the work that has been done, it creates a joint responsibility for making it even better, and it potentially creates energy around improvement.

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