I have worked with numerous leaders at all levels and have seen the best and worst practices in how they delegate or they don’t. Here are my 10 principles of delegation that I practice and advocate based on the lessons I have learned by being on both ends of the spectrum.
1. Delegating is not simply about asking someone to do something for you; it’s about setting expectations on desired outcome and offering to help.
2. Delegating does not mean being a slacker but shifting focus instead on right things; as a leader, more often than not, doing right things is more important than doing things right.
3. Delegating something that you typically won’t is the best way to empower your employees; all other empowering talk is cheap.
4. Never take credit for what you delegate; in fact never take credit for anything that you accomplish.
5. Delegation leads to transparency; most employees struggle to get a bigger picture and don’t have insights into what their managers do.
6. Don’t say, “I trust you,” instead delegate a task where an employee understands she would not have gotten an opportunity to work on it unless the manager had her trust.
7. Put yourself in the shoes of whom you are delegating to; manage their concerns, emotions, and challenges instead of yours.
8. If afraid of delegating a task imagine the worst case scenario before you delegate it and mitigate the situation by setting expectations and periodically monitoring the progress to make you comfortable delegate.
9. If still afraid of delegating unpack the task into sub-tasks and start with delegating the first sub-task; it’s always the first step that is incredibly hard to take.
10. Share with your employees what you don’t want to delegate; help them build empathy for what you do and motivate them to step up for that task the next time.
Photo courtesy: tanakawho
(Cross-posted @ Cloud Computing)