Over the last few posts we’ve looked at how to help you and your team cope with change. Now might be a good time to introduce a change of your own. After all, you now have the skills to manage it. So, let’s talk about delegation.
Most leaders want things to work perfectly, so they micro-manage their people. The job might be done well, but it sucks up all their leadership time and doesn’t allow room for their people to develop.
To be an effective leader, confront your fear of failure and to trust your people. You need to assign real, meaningful work to your people and give them the freedom to take risks, try new things and be ready to support them if they fail.
Stages of delegation
To be successful at delegation, you must be open to change. No one will do things exactly as you would, especially the first few times that they perform a task. You must learn to be flexible in your expectations.
Rather than expecting perfection, ease yourself and your team into the habit of delegation. As you progress through the basic levels of delegation, increase the level of difficulty and responsibility of the tasks that you delegate to your people. As your team masters each level, all of you should grow in confidence and trust in one another and feel more comfortable with the delegation process.
- Analyse and report back
The first stage of successful delegation is teaching your team how to read and assess a problem or situation. Have them consider a problem and possible solutions and report back to you with their findings.
Don’t forget to clearly define the task, your team’s role in completing it, as well as set benchmarks and deadlines to measure performance. Review the report with your team, and let them know your thoughts on their findings, and explain why you agree or disagree with their conclusions.
- Recommendations based on the assessment
Once your team has learned how to read a situation, they are ready to move to the next stage and learn how to analyse the information they have gathered, define potential outcomes and make specific recommendations of the best course of action to take.
Go over their suggestions with them and discuss why their conclusions would or would not work.
- Teach your team to create an action plan
At this stage, your team should be able to assess a situation and come up with potential solutions to resolve or improve it.
When they are comfortable with this step, show them how to create an action plan to achieve a goal and keep them on track as they work towards it.
- Empower your people
Once you’ve given your people a framework for assessing problems, coming up with solutions and creating a plan to act, it’s time to unleash them! Give your team the power to make the decision and implement their plan of action. Avoid the temptation to hover but do check in periodically to monitor their progress.
- Recognise and reward success!
As members of your team become increasingly proficient in completing the projects you have delegated to them, publicly recognise and reward their performance. Look for ways to give them new opportunities to learn and grow. This is career development in action.
Open communication, mutual trust and a willingness to cooperate and collaborate will go a long way in helping you and your team become more comfortable with the delegation process. In the end, successful delegation leads to improved outcomes in efficiency, effectiveness and performance for both you and your team!
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