Kara Redoutey, MBA
What are the leadership barriers to doing this?
We are told that in order to be successful, we must delegate projects and tasks to our teams. This is definitely true and definitely very difficult to do, especially for a new leader transitioning from a front line role. One of the ways we were likely identified as potential leaders is because we are able to get our job done and done well on our own. But delegation is guiding others to get the job done and done well with little control over how they may accomplish the task at hand. However, learning to delegate is another post that could stand alone, and today, we are going to focus on delegating appropriately.
Many new leaders think that giving their staff member a task and a deadline is enough. We can get it off of our plate and onto their plate, and that is great delegation. Wrong.
What is the case for doing it anyway?
Appropriate delegation is key to successful leadership. Knowing when to allow autonomous work on a project or when to provide a detailed step by step process and plan for your staff is important. At times, staff members want more detailed and specific tasks rather than the increased accountability that often comes with autonomous work. You are the one who signed up for leadership so you are the one responsible for identifying who to delegate to, how to delegate the task, how much detail to give, and you are ultimately accountable for achieving results.
How can you do it?
Get to know your staff members so you learn to delegate to each appropriately. If you don’t know your team members well enough to delegate to them individually, you won’t get the best results. Knowing the difference between which team members like to take a project and run with it with little direction and which team members need more detailed information at the start can save you a lot of time and energy throughout the project.
Create a detailed format and process for delegating projects to your staff members that they buy into as well. Talk to your team members. Work together to find a way to delegate projects that meets their needs and yours. There are many ways to delegate a task appropriately, such as verbal instructions, email, team meetings, and more, but make sure you and your staff member are both comfortable with the approach. The results will be better and the expectations clearer.
Follow up regularly, ask for feedback on the process, and most importantly, hold team members accountable for the results you are trying to achieve. Follow up with your team member along the way, ask questions about the project, allow them to ask questions, and ask if the process you have agreed upon is still working. With you and your team member buying into the delegation process, you have the best chance to produce results and hold each other accountable if needed.