Mastering the art of delegation can be the stepping stone to greater and greater advancement in a career. Yet delegation is not as easy as saying, “do this”.
Successful delegation requires trust, time, and patience.
In order to delegate, you need to trust that the individual you are delegating to has the skills, competencies, and capability to deliver the work. By skills, I am speaking of the technical knowledge to do the work. They know how to code a medical claim for example. Or they understand HTML and can create a landing page.
Competency means they have the softer skills like time management, interpersonal communication, and ambition to want to deliver on the project. If you delegate a time sensitive project to a poor time manager, then you run the risk of missing the deadline. I am reminded of an IT manager I worked with years ago. He was technically very smart and could write and run the reports and he had good communication skills. But managing priorities and time… I will call him Isaac. Isaac would often articulate the task specifications and then make a delivery promise. Say, “Close of business on Friday the 3rd.” And often the finished product would show up on Saturday morning the 4th. Isaac would have delivered it late Friday night (and the commitment was missed).
Capability is speaking to what many call bandwidth. This is the sheer volume of work on their plate and the available time to deliver this. If they do not have the bandwidth they are the wrong person to delegate to, even if they are your “go to” person.
Initially delegation takes more time. You have to become very clear on the outcomes, the constraints, and the process for escalation and clarification.
Being very clear on the delegation is important. All too often people will delegate a task and they will describe the outcome they want. But, they will not clarify the bigger picture. As a result, the person to whom they have delegated to is operating without the larger context.
Imagine you are being told to build one wall of a house. You are told the height, width, and depth of the wall. You are even told where the window is to go. But you are not told that this is a contemporary design and the windows are not specified, so you install multi-paned windows for a colonial style home.
It takes extra time to get clear on the specification and details, that are necessary. These details need to be conveyed to the other in a way that they can understand and act upon. It is a good practice to build in a cushion of time for questions and corrections as needed. And it takes time to check on the progress and help them to calibrate to performance.
This is where patience comes in. Because it takes extra time and because you are educating the person you are delegating to, you can plan to take time from other initiatives. When they come with questions, you can plan to be interrupted. All of this can stain your patience.
All three – Trust, Time, and Patience are required for delegation. And when you learn to do this successfully you career will advance and you will enjoy more success.
There are three conversations that you must master for managerial and leadership success. To get your details on these three conversation click here. To schedule a free strategy session click here