James asks: I am working long hours and am starting to feel burnt out. My manager says I am a high performing manager but I should be delegating more. So, I did. Things are not getting done right or in a timely fashion. I’m worried this will affect my own performance. What’s the secret to delegating effectively so as not to diminish results?
Barbara Baill, Executive Leadership Coach responds:
Effective delegation is a challenge for many high performers who are responsible for managing others. Delegation is not a simple of task of tossing an assignment to one of your people on the way to a meeting and waiting for the final product. It does take time and attention initially, but, over time, you will find your employees growing in their capabilities and feeling more challenged and empowered. Eventually, the investment will pay off for all. Here are some key elements of effective delegation:
- Choose the right person who has the skill sets for the task. Discuss with the person why s/he has been selected for the assignment.
- Articulate the assignment carefully any specific timelines, requirements, performance standards, checkpoints and other expectations. If you have any sample outcomes (reports, slideset, etc) from previous projects, share them. Point the delegatee to other resources that can be helpful.
- Solicit questions, comments and suggestions from the delegatee. Gain commitment to take on the challenge. Ask what support he/she will need from you and others.
- Empower the individual by informing others that the delegatee is leading the effort.
- Establish and conduct regular check-ins and monitor project progress. Ensure the individual knows how much communication you need to keep you well informed and in what particular circumstance immediate contact is required. Be encouraging and offer feedback and support but don’t take back the project.
- Ensure the person is recognized for successful completion of the work. (Don’t inadvertently take the credit – common mistake.)
These steps can help you become a master at delegating which will help you and your people continue to grow and will magnify the output of your entire team.