How can I delegate better?

by Sam on March 21, 2011

I’ve yet to hear a retired executive say, “I wish I’d spent more time in the weeds.”

Certainly, you need to be on the front lines and in the details of execution now and then. It may be for a customer who insists on seeing you. Or you may be the only one with a specialized skill. It’s also a sure way to demonstrate to your people that you don’t hold yourself above them.

But the catch phrase is “now and then”.

Why Delegate More?

Trust good people with decisions and authority once reserved for yourself and remarkable things happen…

A. More gets done as additional hands quicken outcomes.

B. People grow as they are left to experience success and failure on their own.

C. You hear ideas you couldn’t have imagined within the limits of your one lonely mind.

D. You apply Pareto’s Law by handing off the 80% of what you do that yields only 20% of your impact as a leader.

E. You feel less pressure as you experience others teaming with you in leadership.

F. You buy some of your life back as your load lightens.

G. You end the misappropriation of company funds caused by collecting your salary for tasks that lower paid employees should handle.

Is There Anything Not to Delegate?

Avoid delegating…

· Anything that contributes to your growth as a leader

· Responsibilities that allow you to exercise your values, beliefs, and desires for others to see and be influenced by

· Activities that keep you in the marketplace or with key customers

· Performance evaluation, counseling, and discipline that come with your position

· Strategic planning

· Decision-making for which you are held strictly accountable

· Interactions with your boss

· Visioning and laying out the direction for your team

How Best Delegate?

1. Examine the special talent, inspiration, and enthusiasm on your team and delegate the right responsibilities to those who possess the right blend of these gifts.

2. Educate recipients on the details of the new responsibilities: turn over critical information; introduce them to people they need to know; communicate your non-negotiable expectations.

3. Turn over every bit of authority others need to make the decisions you now give them the responsibility to make.

4. Don’t be too quick to wash your hands of the delegated responsibility, but neither hover over recipients. Remain visible and present enough to provide both encouragement and criticism as appropriate.

5. Establish a schedule of ongoing formal evaluations of the results recipients achieve with appropriate re-education, changes in the level of delegation, or even a take-back of some delegated duties if indicated.

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