Delegate is ….
- to let someone help you
- riskfull at some times
- what you must do
Delegation is ….
- to create more time to do other things (which are perhaps more important)
- to give somebody trust to learn to do some leadership work
Why don’t people in leading positions delegate?
There are several reasons for that:
- They have the tendency to do things themselves because it is easier and they can do it faster. But if you do everything yourself you get swamped in work.
- They think it will hurt them, they avoid that others make mistakes that will affect your reputation.
- They don’t want the additional responsibility. It is seen as extra work on an already overloaded schedule
This is all related to fear, because there is a serious exposure to failure. This is wrong way to see it, You can control the work you delegate
How do you delegate?
As a person in a leading position, when you decide to delegate a task, you need to make one thing very clear. The level of authority you will give to others.
Level 1: Do exactly what I have asked you to do.
Stick to the instructions I give to you, don’t deviate. I want you to do ‘this’, I already researched the options.
You can give this level of delegation to the new people in the team.
Level 2: Research the topic and report back to me.
Send them out to investigate a topic. You will discuss the topic. Then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.
You give at this level the person the opportunity to be heard, to let him speak his voice. This will increase motivation
Level 3: Research the topic, outline the options, and make a recommendation.
Send him out to investigate a topic and let him come back with options. You both discuss the pros and cons of each option. Ask him to tell me what we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.
You give at this level the person trust. Trust to investigate a topic and formulate a plan to proceed.
Level 4: Make a decision and then tell me what you did.
I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can, and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.
You give at this level the first steps to a person to become a leader. You give an assignment to a person and let him make a decision.
Level 5: Make whatever decision you think is best.
There is no need to report back. You have my trust and full support. I know you can do the assignment .
At this level you know you can trust the person you delegate the work to.
The dark side of this approach is the dependence, or co-dependence you can create along the way. If you rely on people to know what to do and how to do it only when you tell them, you are still a prisoner to those you lead. As a person in a leading position you have to invest time, energy and resources to develop people. When you develop others, you are truly multiplying your impact and theirs as well.
- When they have the skills to do the job.
You observed that they are competent. They know how to accomplish the task on their own.
- When they are motivated to do the job.
They feel confident to do this on their own. This something they actually want to do. You both believe it is worthwhile.
- When they have access to the resources they need.
They have access to the materials, information, people, funds and time that are needed. You are responsible that they make it a success when they have access to all they need
Note : See how quickly you can get thru the first three levels of delegation quickly per individual. If they show progress, let them start with level 4
So don’t be the seagull manager that flies around somewhere, but every once in a while, swoops in unexpectedly, makes a lot of noise, dumps a load, and then flies off again. Be the person who gives others an opportunity to learn, by delegating work to your people. You are creating an environment of trust where people are allowed to make mistake. You let them grow to become leaders themselves, perhaps ever bigger than you.