Thank you for listening to The Champion Forum Podcast with Jeff Hancher! Are you feeling… busy? As a leader, you have a lot to do, and you feel like you need help. But you also are probably worried that delegating will cause tasks to fall through the cracks or decrease the quality of work your department or business puts out. As a leader, you must align your staff with the mission of your organization and delegate tasks that help them fulfill that mission.
Great teams enjoy being delegated tasks because they know that it will make them better contributors.
When the process yields two-way success, your organization is better positioned to manage high workload situations. Here are four of the most common questions leaders ask me about delegation.
Question 1. Isn’t it quicker to do it myself?
No! Any time you spend coaching your team is well-spent. Ultimately, it will make them better, more effective employees who can handle even more difficult assignments! If you keep trying to do everything yourself, you will spend too much time on tasks that other people can do and not enough time on the jobs that only you can do. Delegating will maximize your effectiveness.
Q: Do you worry that it will take you more time to delegate? Have you ever tried to do everything yourself? What was the result? Describe a time when you were able to accomplish a project because of delegation.
Question 2. What will they think of me?
You are the boss! Ultimately, most people will expect you to delegate. Sure, they may not always like it in the short-term, but you have to see delegation as a gift. You are helping to grow the leaders of the future.
Q: Have you ever kept your fear of what people will think stop you from delegating? Why or why not? How have you felt when a leader delegated to you?
Question 3. How do I know it’s being done?
Start by making sure you give the right person the right task. Take time to understand your team’s skills, development needs, and aspirations. Set up milestones and check-ins so that you are always aware of where your employees or team members are in the process. Then, set aside a portion of your time to offer support, guidance, and encouragement. Do not give in to the temptation to do their work for them. Remember, great leaders help their people fail forward!
Q: How often do you like to meet or check-in on a project? What has happened in the past when you have been given a task with no follow-up meetings scheduled? What has happened when you had many check-ins scheduled? Which would you prefer as an employee? As a leader?
Question 4. What if my team is so busy?
Everyone is busy, and you will be even busier if you do not delegate. This is a great opportunity to help your team develop their time management abilities! Look at your current processes and practices. What could you change? Where can you innovate? How can you better motivate your team? If you look at these areas and feel like there is nowhere that you can make a significant improvement, you may need to look into making another hire.
Q: How do you think you know it is time to make a new hire? Describe a time where hiring another person helped your team. Describe a time when hiring another person did not help your team. What do you think could have been done instead?
After you have delegated, ask your team member these two questions:
Question #1 - What is your understanding of the task?
Question #2 - What will be your first three next steps?
This gives you an opportunity to clarify your expectations and ensure that the employee starts the task off right.
Write down your employees’ names and strengths on a piece of paper. If you know of what they are interested in pursuing long-term, write that down too! Now you will have a comprehensive document that will help you match new tasks with the person best-suited to delegate them to.
If you have an employee who tends to struggle with getting things done on time, try going over the task using the SMART goal format (Specific, measurable, assignable, relevant, and time-bound). Pay special attention to the time-bound portion and set clear goals for each step of the process. You may need to be more hands-on the first time you delegate to that employee, but intentionally give them more autonomy every time they successfully complete a project.
Consider any personal bias you may have against delegating. Was there a situation where you delegated and did not see a positive result? Did you have a boss who gave you too much to do and refused to help you manage your time or find another employee? Talk to a trusted mentor or friend about your answers. Remember, you are not responsible for the actions of other people in the past, you can only control what you do moving forward. Think about times when you delegated and it was both helpful and productive. Remember that you can see those same results again and again!