February 10, 2011
patty published this at 7:29 am
by Patty Azzarello
How well do you delegate?
Most people inherently know that they should delegate more, and delegate better, but one big obstacle keeps them from doing itâ€¦
It will be better if I do it myself.
Whoâ€™s at fault?
It it doesnâ€™t come out right, the uncomfortable question this raises is – did this person fail to do a good job because:
1. They are not good enough at the job or
2. I am not good enough at delegating?
You don’t need to get comfortable with worry!
The real secret of successful delegating is not to learn how to deal with the emotional discomfort of letting go, and learning to live with being worried about the outcome, or accepting bad outcomesâ€¦
Itâ€™s about preventing reasons to worry
Your job is to delegate, let go, NOT micromanageâ€¦ AND create structure, support and processes so you ensure that it is going to get done right.
You donâ€™t deal with the worrying, you ensure itâ€™s not necessary.
Ways to build comfort and insurance into the project
1. Let the person create the timeline, define the deliverables and how you will measure them.Â The encouragement and trust goes a long way, and you either get the pleasant surprise of a better plan than you would have come up with, or you get an early warning that this person needs more support.
2. Tighten the Outcomes.Â If you are concerned that the person is not capable enough to run with the project, Instead of a 6 month outcome, discuss outcomes that occur every two weeks.
3. Focus on the outcome, not the activity. No two humans will do a task exactly the same way.Â If they deliver the outcome, it shouldnâ€™t matter how they do it.Â Let them worry about how and what.Â You worry about WHY, and what needs to be true when it is done.
4. Create an actual process and tracking system for long term or repetitive tasks â€“ a software development lifecycle with checkpoints is a good example.Â But why not define a project lifecycle with checkpoints for a quarterly analyst presentation, a press release, or a marketing campaign?
5. Third party reviews. Get yourself out of the position of always being the one to judge whether a deliverable is good enough or not.Â Get the actual consumers of the deliverable to review and provide feedback.Â Your employees will learn far more this way.
6. Donâ€™t forget to inspect and measure things along the way.Â If you set up a timeline with review steps along the way, you must follow up.Â A great deal of your comfort comes from the fact that people take you seriously and actually do the committed work.Â A long time mentor of mine always put it â€œYou get what you INspect, not what you EXpectâ€.
7. Teach. When you are delegating things you are personally good at, always think of delegating as a teaching opportunity. If you need to sometimes jump down and do the work yourself, make sure someone is watching and learning.
You need to delegate effectively if you want to get anything significant done, get anywhere in your career, and save yourself from an un-doable workload.
If you are either doing the work yourself, or worried about the work not getting done, you need to change your strategy.
You can delegate and feel comfortable that the work is getting done as long as you do the higher level work of setting up the systems, processes and measures that ensure the right things are happening along the way.
What has worked for you?
Please share your ideas about how you got better (and more comfortable) with delegating. Let’s discuss in the comment box below!
Patty Azzarello is an executive, author, speaker and CEO-advior. She works with executives where leadership and business challenges meet. Patty has held leadership roles in General Management, Marketing, Software Product Development and Sales, and has been successful in running large and small businesses. She writes at Patty Azzarello’s Business Leadership Blog. You’ll find her on Twitter as @PattyAzzarello