We all have way to much to do. Sometimes we jest and call it “job security.” Nevertheless, having too much to do all of the time has serious consequences to our health and well being.
Another truth is most people do not delegate because they simply do not know the most advantageous way to do so. Questions like – When do I delegate? How much do I delegate? To whom do I delegate? – can plague leaders and managers alike.
So here are 8 ideas to help you feel more comfortable with delegation, while doing a better job when you do delegate.
Deal with your personal feelings before handing off. Many leaders carry a lack of trust, a fear of being replaced, perfectionism, or impatience into the delegation process. Hand over a task without these feelings attached so the person helping you doesn’t get sideswiped by your feelings and misgivings.
Establish Clear Expectations. A hand-off should always make the following completely clear:
- Purpose – why are we doing this
- Standards – how this is to be judged
- Process – how this should be done
- Delivery date – time frame for execution
When possible, delegate complete tasks rather than pieces of a task. Ownership never happens when you delegate a task piecemeal. Don’t hand off pieces of task you do not like or do not want to spend time doing. Allow some authority and autonomy to be passed when you give away the whole thing.
Delegate the goal not the process. People need a wide lane to travel when attempting to solve problems and accomplish goals in the way they think is best. If you do have specific process requirements, be clear up front but then back away without being a micromanager.
Delegate adequate authority along with the task. Don’t pass on a high level task or a multi-departmental task without first making sure all parties involved know the one being delegated has authority over that area. Nothing derails a process more than people positioning and rejecting another authority. Many times, this is not the person who received the taks fault, it’s yours as the leader.
Understand there will be issues along the way. Make sure you as the leader and the one to whom you delegate realize issues and failures will happen along the way. Put the person you delegate at ease by letting them know you are both in this together to learn as well as get things done.
Establish check-ins. This is the only way to deal with micromanaging. If you have that tendency this is key for you. Establish when there will be check-in times and stick to them. Only check-in earlier when you have vital info for the task, not just because you are curious or nervous. This may be the hardest for a perfectionistic or micromanaging leader, but it pays dividends in trust for the long haul.
Be prepared to offer acknowledgement and credit. Be generous in your appreciation. One of the major reasons people leave their job is a lack of recognition and praise. Also, make sure that people get appropriate credit within the organization for the tasks that you delegate. The moment a leader takes all the credit for the delegation, others will be less likely to want to work with you in the future. Be generous with your praise.
Obviously, there are many more ideas that can be added here, but these eight can transform how you lead and manage within an organization.
I am curious to hear your ideas. Feel free to post in the comments or on my social media sites!