The Art of Effective Delegation: Cultivating Leaders and Building Stronger Teams
Many leaders I coach are learning new ways to delegate effectively.
They often grapple with fear of losing control and skepticism about whether the task will be done to their standard. Sometimes they simply don’t understand the potential value that effective delegation can bring.
One key mindset shift I encourage them to make is to think of Delegation as Development.
Delegation as Development
When you are on the verge of delegating (or not delegating!) a task, pause for a moment and ask yourself: “What developmental opportunity does this task present?”
- For the person receiving the task, it might be a chance to learn a new skill, take on more responsibility, or think more critically.
- For you, the leader, it’s an opportunity to nurture growth, demonstrate trust, and potentially, free up your time to focus on strategic matters.
- Even what seems like “routine busy work” has a lesson embedded within. It could be a test of patience, a challenge in efficiency, or a practice in meticulousness.
The Conversations of Delegation
Delegation doesn’t end once the task is handed off.
It involves a series of meaningful conversations that pave the way for relationship building and trust enhancement.
These conversations provide the leader with opportunities to make a clear agreement, mentor as the work is done, and provide feedback to the person along the way and at completion.
Make Clear Agreements
Before any task is passed on, have a clear dialogue about expectations.
What are the objectives? What’s the desired outcome? What resources are available?
At a minimum the agreement should include “who will do what by when.”
If you are delegating decisions, clarify the constraints in budget, time, and scope.
This alignment prevents confusion and misaligned efforts.
Be a Mentor
As the task progresses, be available as a mentor. If appropriate, the delegation agreement could include expectations for progress updates.
Offer guidance when needed, share relevant experiences, or sometimes, just be a sounding board.
This creates a safe space for the delegatee to navigate the complexities of the task.
Offer Feedback and Reflection
Once the task is complete, don’t rush to the next thing.
Engage in a feedback conversation. What went well? What could have been done differently?
This isn’t just an evaluation, but an integral part of the learning journey.
The Framework of Delegation
How you delegate shapes the growth of your team.
- Task Delegation: By delegating a task, you’re nurturing skills, encouraging a person to be solution-oriented, and molding a more skilled worker.
- Decision Delegation: When you delegate a decision, you’re instilling confidence, fostering critical thinking, and cultivating a leader’s mindset. It says, “I trust your judgment.”
- Outcome Delegation: Entrusting someone with an outcome is empowering. It inspires innovation, demands a sense of responsibility, and creates an owner’s mindset. The message here is, “I believe in your capability to drive results.”
Reflect on Your Delegation Approach
Are you reluctant to leverage delegation as a development tool?
- Could it be a fear of loss of control?
- Are you uncertain about your team’s ability?
- Do you have a knowledge gap in how to delegate effectively?
How could you improve your delegation skills to create skilled employees and leaders?
When done right, delegation not only eases your workload but also empowers your team, growing a new generation of skilled employees and visionary leaders.
As you refine your delegation skills, you’re not just building a more effective team but also laying the foundation for a legacy of excellence and growth.
The One Big Thing
Thank you for reading this blog. At this point you have gained some knowledge or might have some provoked thoughts. Leadership is a performance art. Wisdom and experience are gained by taking new actions that test your thoughts.
At the end of most coaching sessions my clients will name one big takeaway and will have made a commitment to an action or practice. What is your One Big Thing?
I’d love to hear your One Big Thing and and what action you are taking to improve your delegation skills.
I help leaders get to where they want to go faster. Book a Call with Coach Ken