Structure Your Delegation Process
As many of you know, the mantra of the MAP 2.5 day executive workshop is “Focus on the Vital Few and ignore or delegate the trivial many.” Why is this so important? In our experience, most entrepreneurs and leaders struggle with being effective delegators. They tend to work on the wrong things, or what’s trivial in terms of their leadership goals, and find themselves doing tasks or serving in roles that should be assigned to their team instead. To optimize your leadership impact, focus on what really matters and embrace delegation. Equally important, don’t just go around telling people what to do, randomly assigning everyone a bunch of activities that’s on your plate. Create a process that honors your goals and has structure, including measurables and accountability. Make this a consistent habit and adopt it as part of your management style to accelerate your leadership and odds of success.
The following tactics help to build more structure around your delegation process:
Assign to the right person. When you delegate, consider who has the right skills, talent, and values. Just as you must hire the right person for the right job, so, too, must you pick the right person for what you’re delegating. You’ll know it’s a good fit when you don’t have to spend time micromanaging. However, you may need to provide initial training to beef up weaker skills or a bit of coaching that facilitates this change. But the right person should work out quickly with these additional, upfront measures. Through that support, the individual’s ability to develop professionally and deliver according to what’s been delegated should become self-sustaining in a reasonable time frame.
Invest in clear communication. When delegating to your team, make sure people understand what they are going to do and the outcome you want. Communicate the:
- Goal of the assignment
- Desired outcomes
- Resources available
- Support structure
- Success measures
You may have to set a few key parameters but within a reasonable framework, try giving your staff the opportunity to figure out “how” they will deliver according to what’s expected. This will empower them to take initiative, develop as individuals, and own their assignment, project, or responsibility—something that you, as a leader, should want and really need. This will free up time on your end, enabling you to focus more on vital leadership responsibilities.
Formalize your follow-up. Everything you delegate should be part of a system that tracks and follows-up on progress against measurable goals. Establish a specific deadline with milestones from the start, systematically checking in and checking up on progress before the final deadline. Use numbers and follow-up reports to determine what’s happening versus some fuzzy line of questioning like: “How are you doing?” Use a formal yet simple system to give you and your team the transparency it needs.
What “secrets” can you share about effective delegation in your business?