Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Delegation – how do I tell them?

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?)

So you have figured out what to delegate and who to delegate to – and you have overcome your fear of actually doing it. How do you deliver the message?

I have written earlier about Assessment and SMART targets – Delegation is a version of this. Explain as best as you can what you want and continue by having a conversation with the receiver:

  • How does she understand the job?
  • What does she need to do the job?
  • What is the expectation YOU have to the result and how do you both know when it is good enough?
  • When do you expect the delivery?
  • Are the targets SMART (if applicable?)
  • If you are delegating a decision or a responsibility – continue the discussion about the boundaries.
  • Stay out of too much details on HOW TO do the job, but be available for coaching and support if needed.
  • Agree on checkpoints and milestones.

And then: Let her get on with it. Yep, it’s back to the daring-to-let-go-discussion (step 3) – stay off.

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