5 Steps To Delegation Mastery
My road to delegation mastery: There were times in the past when I was delegated to that it felt like an honor and privilege. I loved taking on the new responsibility. Then there were the times when I felt like I'd been dumped on from a great height. The difference in my performance under each situation was obvious. When it felt like an honor I went above and beyond. When I felt dumped on I did the least I needed to do. In some instances that wasn't much. How the delegating manager viewed and approached delegation made the difference.
Successful delegation requires communication and collaboration. It requires a meaningful conversation. Both parties must be aligned. The delegate should be in agreement and feel valued and supported. The following are 5 steps to successful delegation.
Choose The Right Person
Who you delegate to is key to successful delegation. Choose someone who has an interest or strength related to the responsibility. This person doesn’t need to have previous experience, although they could. You could choose someone ready for growth and development. Don't choose the delegate as a form of punishment. This leads to a negative attitude towards taking on new responsibilities. When you delegate consider it a form of recognition. You are choosing them due to their ability to contribute more to the team or organization. This approach lets the employee know you value them and the contribution they make. It sets everyone up for success.
Tell Them Why
Let them know why you have chosen them. That you believe in them. Let them know the specific strengths, attitudes, and behaviors you have observed. Tell them what makes them a good fit for the responsibility. Share the importance of what you are asking. Make the connection to your company goals. People need to understand why they've been chosen. They also need to understand they are contributing to something important. When this happens they are more likely to want to do a good job.
Share exactly what you expect of them. Explain what done and done well looks like. Tell them what is needed. Don't get into the weeds on how to do it, that could lead to overwhelming confusion. Remember you have chosen this person because they are competent and capable. Make sure you share important milestones and deadlines. This helps the delegate see the pathway ahead. This helps build confidence and motivation.
Have A Conversation
So far I talked about what you as the manager needs to do to set the employee up for success. Yet, the most important part of the delegation process is the conversation. Once you have chosen the person explained why you chose them and, what is needed you must get their input. Ask them what questions they have. What are their thoughts on how they will do this? What support and resources do they need? Ask questions to gain clarity around concerns they have or challenges they expect. This stage is critical. The delegate may have knowledge or insights that you are not aware of. This information could be critical to achieving the desired out. If you don't do this the delegate could feel devalued and like they are being dumped on.
The final step is to determine how, when and the frequency of your check in's with the employee. The purpose of checking in is to celebrate progress. It provides an opportunity to help the employee address challenges they might have. This is another conversation. The person providing the update is the delegate. Ask them how they are doing, what has gone well, and if they are having any challenges. If they are experiencing challenges your job as a manager is to get their input. Ask them what needs to happen and what support they need. By doing this you are empowering the employee to take ownership. You are letting them know you value them and the work they are doing. Following these steps provides a strong foundation for success. Including the delegate in the process by having meaningful conversations is key. This can be the difference between someone going above and beyond or doing the bare minimum.
If you want to achieve delegation mastery it takes intention and practice. Download my free Delegation Mastery Worksheet and get started now.