Nature or nurture? It’s what you believe that counts.
Delegation, when we don’t do it right, is a frustrating business. We discover down the road that things never turn out as we thought they would. We find ourselves looking at deadlines in the rearview mirror. It drives us crazy and reinforces the conviction that “if it has to be done right, then there is only one person to do it.”
But BEWARE! Therein is the vicious circular road to burnout. Because the busier you are, the less time you have to share your thoughts, feelings, and rationale for the things you want to be doing. So, you cut instructions to the bone, ending up with disappointment all around and blowing out even more time in the “do-over.”
Long ago, when I expressed this delegation dilemma to my first mentor, he gave me a Christmas gift that just keeps giving. He said; “Delegate the ideas, the problems, or the situation. Never just the actions.” Delegation is like magic according to J.K. Rowling: “an exact art and a subtle science.”
Here’s the PBC step-by-step guide to more effective delegation. So, the first principle again…
● Delegate the ideas, the problems, or the situation. Never just the actions.
Ask yourself, “What will success look like when all is said and done?” Resist the temptation to simply hand over relevant to-do items and tick them off your list. For example, “I want my business to eliminate single-use plastics and recycle 100% of other plastics,” rather than “Call each of our suppliers and ask them how much sustainable eco-friendly inputs will cost.”
● Ask, don’t tell! (Be more coach than instructor.)
The leaders’ job is to guide their people to work through the issues, so as to discover and own the solutions. Think GROW… Agree on the end G
OAL! Assess the current R
EALITY! Think about the O
PTIONS! Write down the W
● Stay in touch.
The final question in every delegation interaction should be, “When can we get together to talk about progress?”
● Give your authentic support without taking back the responsibility for the doing.
Every worthwhile goal will need some time from all concerned, some money plus other resources, and most important of all, the ol’ leadership magic dust, aka recognition and encouragement.
We simply cannot grow our businesses without effective delegation. Only people have ideas. As your business grows, it becomes imperative to build a coaching relationship with each member of your team. The person doing the job knows it best and is therefore the ideal problem solver. Remember that nobody resists change, but we all resist being changed.
Solving problems, making things happen, and doing the right things all connect us with our purpose. Learning new things, applying new skills, and staying in control of their own destiny are just the best motivators.