I spent some time coaching one of my clients* recently who was planning an event and needed to enlist the help of others in order to be successful. The problem she was facing involved feeling overwhelmed. She knew that there were many details that she didn’t have the best skill set to handle. She said that she felt stuck because she didn’t know who she could pass the responsibility to and didn’t know how to hand over the work to them. She felt like she had to maintain the ownership and babysit all of the details and that feeling was very overwhelming.
As we worked together we identified that what she needed was more confidence in her understanding about how delegation works. This is what we discovered that enabled her to move forward and have a more effective working relationship with the others on her planning committee.
1. Set proper expectations. Describe the responsibilities you expect the person to take on. Set boundaries around what they should and should not do. Describe the outcomes you wish to see.
2. Determine and agree upon the feedback loop. Set expectations for how often you expect to get reports on progress, how detailed the reports should be when presented. Set expectations for how you want the information communicated. For example: written reports, emails, meetings, informal communication, etc.
3. Empower with proper authority to accomplish the task. Establish clear guidelines for the amount of authority they have to make decisions and when they should seek approval. Give them the autonomy to work within the expectations and boundaries provided. When others come to you to make decisions in areas where you have given the delegate authority, point them towards the delegate for answers so you do not undercut the authority given them.
4. Check in at established intervals and make adjustments to the agreement as needed.
Following these simple steps to delegation can help you be a more effective leader.
*Printed with permission