May 24, 2012
When, where and how to use delegation skills.
As this current series is about delegation I thought it would be good to focus on some tips to be effective in this area of management. For instance, when it’s a good time to start using the delegating style, how to improve your delegation skills and providing some tips on how to be more successful at the art of delegating.
When can you delegate?
When to start using your delegation skills.
1. A team member is sufficiently motivated and capable in a specific job area. They must have a high ‘will do’ and ‘can do’ attitude.
2. You want to reward someone who demonstrates willingness and competence and who is strongly internally motivated to do good work.
3. You can more usefully use your energy and time to focus on other important issues.
6 tips to improve your delegation skills.
1. Judge when a team member is ready for this style of leadership and tell them they will take complete control of the work from now on. You have succeeded when that team member is able to perform the task in an enabled way – that is with confidence and to a standard that is as good or better than your own.
2. Give the team member the car keys but prise your fingers off the steering wheel. Let them go and remember not to interfere.
3. If the team member asks too often for help at the outset, consciously push the decision back to them by asking for their opinion of what needs to be done.
4. Accept that the team member’s approach might be different from yours. This doesn’t mean the results will be worse – they might even be better!
5. Deal with mistakes productively and take accountability for them. We all make mistakes sometimes. The fear of this will prevent you from enabling others so that you can get on with more productive and strategic factors. You don’t want to be stuck on the activity treadmill, do you?
6. Stay informed but not involved by seeking opportunities to stay in contact with the team member and avoid discussing the details of what they are doing.
Delegating is mostly about letting go and imagining your team members are performing brilliantly. This will be challenging for you and them at first, but with your background support they will outperform other teams with not so artful leaders.
What are your tips to improve delegation skills?
See also The 8 Barriers to Delegation.