John is the visionary and articulate chief executive at one of my clients. Unfortunately, he gives vague directions to his teams, believing that he is empowering them with freedom. When the results don’t satisfy him, he swoops in to micro-manage. His people feel whipsawed, while John is frustrated at their slow progress toward realizing the vision that he sees so clearly.
Avoid John’s delegation woes by following six steps when you delegate.
- Assess the skills of the person to whom you are delegating. Different people can handle different levels of autonomy, so tune your approach.
- Frame what you plan to delegate. Clearly describe the responsibilities that you’re delegating, the results that you expect, and how much authority you are transferring.
- Discuss the delegation with the other person. Ask for suggestions and concerns, then respond to them.
- Develop a plan of action together. Agree on how the delegated responsibilities will be carried out and how progress will be communicated.
- Implement the plan. The other person does the delegated work, communicating and escalating to you as agreed.
- Support, monitor progress, and follow up. Provide enough support for the other person to succeed.
Good delegation extends your leverage as a leader and may even save your sanity. The results are worth the hard practice that is needed to master delegation skills.