Have you ever asked a team member, colleague, or friend to do a task for you and it turned into a disaster? Maybe it wasn’t done the way you envisioned. Maybe it was done the way you wanted, but now your relationship is strained.
Neither outcome is beneficial and it will set you and your team behind from the get-go on the next project or assignment.
Delegation is a not an exact science. I would say it is more of a fine art. And, just like any art, there are some delicate yet simple movements to do to get the finished product you want.
There is certainly more to delegation than these 3 steps, but, for our purposes today, we’re going discuss some core principles that are present regardless of the situation.
One thing we will not discuss is the engine at the heart of all of this and that thing is trust. During all 3 steps, you are making choices that will either develop or demolish trust with your team and among your team.
1. Let them do the research
As the leader, it is natural to think that you have to be the one to research possible solutions or methods for a problem or project. However, this will only frustrate those you lead. Why? Because they are the ones that will end up doing the work, trying the solution, or using the method you select.
It makes more sense to let those that will be implementing the decision to be a part of gathering information. They will have a unique perspective that you, as the leader, most likely won’t have. Your research will have a higher quality and, as a result, you will have better options to pick from.
2. Let them make the decision
You may have felt like letting your team do research was obvious and easy. In fact, you may already be doing that. Good for you! (do you feel me setting you up?!)
BUT, if you really want to teach your team to make better decisions, then you have to let them be the ones that make the final decision. Now, this does not mean that you are completely out of the decision-making process. You should be offering wisdom and guidance during this process.
That is true leadership. Mentoring your team into leaders who can make informed and wise decisions. The term for that is empowering (for more details on empowering those around you, read my earlier posts about Beyond You Leadership: Part 1, Part 2).
3. Let them have the resources
If you, as a leader, are asking your team, colleague, or friend to do a task but do not give the necessary resources to be successful, then their failure is actually your failure. Once a course of action has been chosen, then you must fund, support, and resource the team’s effort; whatever it is.
Leading isn’t about standing in front of everyone like you’re some divine oracle with the ability to conjure the perfect solution to every situation. No, it’s about developing those around you into other leaders. Delegation is one of those key tools that all leaders need to have and must constantly sharpen.
[reminder]What step do you think most leaders fail at?[/reminder]