Delegation for Managers
In my experience one of the most challenging tasks for managers is delegation and one trait of a leader is the ability to effectively delegate.
Management and Leadership require getting work done, with and through others whilst gaining their trust and co-operation, the secret is that you have to give trust before you can gain it.
Many of the executives I have coached have struggled with the issue of trust as they have got where they are today by being controlling and see delegation as loss of control. Logically these people know that they must delegate but become frustrated that when they try to delegate they don’t get the results they were hoping for.
I have found that using a ”Why, What, How, Do” approach can create a staircase to effective delegation.
First you tell people “Why” you want to them to do something. We all like to know why what we are doing is important , so when you say, “I want you to do this because…” you make the task meaningful. By giving the reason for the delegation you engage and empower the individual to do their best.
Next you tell the person “What” the results are you are looking for. We know what those results are but our people are not telepathic (and a good job too) so you will have to take the time to describe specifically what a successful outcome will be.
The first time you delegate you will often need to share with the person, “How” to do what you have asked them. At the very least ask if they know how to execute what you have asked them to do and make sure they know they can contact you if there is a problem. Once this step is complete the person can “Do” the delegated task.
On completion of the delegated task, the result will reflect their competency AND your ability to communicate. Successful completion builds your trust and their trust in you that you have their best interest in mind. If things do not turn out as expected, carefully examine the causes and coach the gaps - avoid blaming as this will evaporate any trust that exists.
Once you have successfully delegated the task once, you can skip the “How” stage and just give “Why and What”" instructions. With a trusted team member you can get away with just “Why” or they may have anticipated the need and done the job already!
Effective delegation takes up-front time to get it right but the payoff is that you leverage yourself and free up time to do other things. Like all worthwhile things it take practice, so why not start today?
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