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.
- You have to know what it is you want to delegate (what is the job?)
- You have to know who to delegate to (who can do the job?)
- You have to dare to let go of the task (do I trust anyone else to do this?)
- You have to be able to specify what your expected result is (what is the product?)
- You have to ensure that the result is acceptable afterwards (Is this good enough?)
Today, let us look at what who can do the job.
How do you know? What do you really know about your people? How do know what they want?
When I started out wanting to get better at delegation I focused almost entirely at the tasks and what I wanted done and then I looked at how busy my people were and I set up an agreement with them: “I’ll keep pushing jobs at you and you have the responsibility to tell me NO when it’s too much.”
It wasn’t enough.
I had forgotten (or really, not learned) that your people should be part of the process of delegating. Talk to them. Present the tasks at hand and learn from them what they can and want to do. No, it is not a democracy, but it can be a process where you learn about their capabilities and what motivates them.
Look for stretching tasks. Look for examples where you do a job because you used to do it before promotion – who is doing your ‘old’ job? Can she (with some coaching, support and follow-up) do it?
This part of delegation is all about having conversations with your people beyond the tasks that they are currently doing and all about what’s possible.
Next time: Do I dare to let go?