Leading by Delegating



How many times have you had the following thought?  “I need to clone myself. I will never to able to create a life that includes everything that matters to me – doing excellent work, having time to play, nurturing great relationships, eating well, and exercising – unless I somehow figure out how to add more hours to my day.”

Whether considering your work or your personal life, delegating is the answer. Start from the premise that your job is doing only those things that others cannot do. Delegate everything else.

I recognize how radical that thought is, and that strictly following it will vary in each of the roles that you have in life, but embracing the premise is essential. You can create a To-Do list that includes ALL of the things that truly matter to you and have enough time to actually get them done and do them well.

But delegation is NOT shoving something off your plate onto someone else’s and breathing a sigh of relief.

Delegation is a process. It involves granting authority to someone else for a specific task or project for which you are ultimately responsible, and holding them accountable for good work.

Leadership skill: Delegate effectively.

Delegation takes thought and practice. The more frequently you do it, the more natural it becomes. When beginning the process of delegating, take time to walk through the following steps:

Step 1 – Select the person.

  • Who has the time or whose priorities could be adjusted to make the time?
  • Who has an interest in the task, or is closest to the issue?
  • Who is either capable of doing it or learning to do it?
  • Who has the most to gain, in either skills or experience?

Step 2 – Clearly define what needs to be done and which of the five levels of responsibility described below the person should take in getting it done.

  • Do it exactly as I’ve described to you, and let me know when it’s done.
  • Or research how to do it and then report to me.
  • Or research how to do it, and then report to me and make recommendations.
  • Or research how to do it, and then do it and let me know when it’s done.
  • Or research how to do it, and then do it.

Step 3 – Create buy-in.

  • Be clear about how this task fits into the big picture of the person’s goals or values, and the goals of the group. That reminds them how important they are.
  • Tell them why they were chosen and what specific skills they bring to the task, and involve them in designing the process to the outcome. That reminds them how valuable they are.

Step 4 – Together design a schedule of follow-up.

  • Establish and agree upon the structure of checkpoints before beginning the task. The frequency of check-ins will be based on the trust you have in their abilities and motivation. This realistic schedule of dates needs to include training time, progressive mini-outcomes, and completion.
  • Avoid micromanaging. Follow-up creates accountability and success. Micromanaging, on the other hand, looks at process, not outcomes, and expects compliance in how things are done. Everyone hates it because it strips them of their individuality.

How are you doing, 0 – 10, delegating effectively?

How well you are delegating is easy to see. Are delegated tasks getting done well and on time? Have you created a life with time to do what matters to you?

The process of delegating is constantly flexing as the tasks on our plate vary. I am currently delegating at about a 7 – frequently mindful about involving others, yet occasionally feeling overwhelmed.

“Overwhelmed” is the key. Notice it. Do something about it. Delegate.


Posted on August 10, 2018 in Building Transparent Cultures, Vetri Space

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