40: Awesome Delegation Part 2

Delegation may not come naturally to us, but it is a skill we can learn
Delegation may not come naturally to us, but it is a skill we can learn

This is part 2 of this topic. This is such an important topic that I just had to stretch it into 2 episodes so I could make sure I really cover it well.

Delegation is really an issue of respect, and how much we respect those that are “under” us on our team. With?responsibility?comes the authority to do a job. If you respect people, you will give them?authority with responsibility.?Even if you have?difficulty respecting the people you work with, you can still set a good example for them by being respectful, and allowing their responses that do not come from a place of respect show their true colors.


My rule on delegation

When a person is delegated a job to do, they should be allowed to choose how the job is done as much as possible. There are exceptions to this like with fire fighters and medical personnel that must follow procedures.

It is okay to check on their work, but we should not be looking over the?shoulder of the one delegated work to make sure they are doing it the way we would, or employing the same strategy we would. The important thing in good delegation is that the job gets done.


5 Key Ingredients for Clean Delegation

  1. Have faith in the one to whom you delegate: learn to trust and respect, hire people that you do respect and that you feel confident in delegating to.
  2. Release the desire to do it better yourself.
  3. Relax from the obsession that it has to be done your way.
  4. Practice patience in the desire to do it faster yourself.
  5. Have a vision to develop other people under your supervision by learning how to delegate really well.


Guidelines for Clean Delegation

  1. Choose qualified people-if you have people on your team that are not qualified then you need to develop the courage to make changes and get the wrong people “off the buss” and the right people on.
  2. Exhibit confidence in their work, this will grow with time.
  3. Make their duties clear.
  4. Delegate the proper authority with the responsibility.
  5. Do not tell them how to actually do the work.
  6. Set up accountability points along the way.
  7. Supervise according to their follow through style.
  8. Give them room to fail occasionally.
  9. Give praise and credit for work well done.


The story of Sam and how NOT to delegate

I once worked with a guy I will call Sam. he was given a big project by our boss, with a long lead time and little details. Sam being new and a good worker wanted to really impress. So he launched into the project doing tons of research, going over?possibilities, and in the end delivering a 50 page report to the boss. After a few days of not hearing anything he caught up with the boss in the hallway and asked him what he thought of the proposal. The boss just said: “we decided to go in another direction.”

Can you believe that? How would you feel in that situation? Sam was?devastated and he was angry, as he should be. Let’s look at what the boss did wrong that really hurt Sam and disrespected him as a worker:

  1. ?The longer we lead, the less we?remember what it is like to be a follower. We need to keep the thoughts and feelings of those we lead in mind.
  2. He failed to really give the work to Sam, to truly delegate it. If he had done this, he would not have made a decision without Sam as part of the equation. Assignments need to be given with the authority and the freedom to complete the task.
  3. Failure to stay in touch. Without check in points along the way of the project, there was no way for the boss to know that Sam was going all out on this project and moving it in a direction that the boss did not want it to go.
  4. Short-circuited?decision making process: Sam was never considered part of the?decision making process, the boss just wanted his opinion. The boss should have been clear on how the?decision was going to be made and how much Sam should put in to the project. The boss seems to have just wanted a casual opinion, which would have taken a lot less time to prepare.
  5. The boss was playing the “inner circle game.” Oftentimes managers have a small circle of people that they trust and make all of their?decisions with, rather than including a greater part of the organization, especially when they ask someone outside the inner circle (like Sam) for input or rather just information. This alienates the rest of the organization and does not allow them to share in?responsibility and?decision making.

After that Sam crawled into his own?shell of self-preservation, and never regained respect for that manager. He also told me: “I will never volunteer to do a project for him again.”


Follow Through Styles

Since no two people are exactly the same, no two people work the same way and therefore different people have different types of flow through style and require different types of supervision. In their book?Management of Organizational Behavior?Hersey, Blanchard, and Johnson develop a Delegation Continuum:

Screenshot 2014-08-26 11.13.28

Four Stages of Delegation

  1. Assignment
  2. Authority
  3. Hold them accountable
  4. Feedback/affirmation (depending on how good a job they do).


Four Questions Every Follower Asks

  1. What am I supposed to do?
  2. Will you let me do it?
  3. Will you help me when I need it?
  4. Will you let me know how I am doing?