There is effective delegation, and there is “rubber band” delegation: when we delegate something and it snaps back to us. Here’s a 5-step process that my executive coaching clients find helps them to end rubber band delegation, and increase ownership and accountability. The result? Less burn out, better results and more energy.
1. What are the capabilities (skills required) for a given project/task?
2. Check on a person’s capacity (do they have time) and capability (do they have the ability/skills to do the task). Match the person with the project. They are now called the “Owner.”
3. Explain the project/task you want the Owner to do, and check in to make sure clear communication has occurred. Say “I would like to increase the clarity of my communication. So could you please echo back to me what you understood so I may ensure I communicated clearly?” Let the Owner echo back what they heard, clarifying gaps and adding whatever may have been missed, paying careful attention to the specifics of what the deliverable is, exact due date and times.
4. Now ask how the Owner would like to ensure they get results—what is their plan? Use the Outcome Frame to help them form a success plan.
5. Have the Owner track the delegated task. Ensure you have a structure in place so communication is honest when a project/task needs to be rescheduled or deadline renegotiated. Most of our executive coaching clients find dividing a complex project into a series of smaller projects increases visibility, and ensures that weekly deadlines keep momentum.
Why Delegation Fails
Often delegation fails simply because we didn’t follow the processes above. Here are some additional questions to consider:
Are we building/increasing capabilities in our people so they can take on more projects? (You’ll want to include the specifics in the person’s Individual Development Plan.)
Do we need to create more safety, belonging, mattering in our culture, so it’s OK to be an Owner?
There you go! The three things you, as a leader, must do right now to ensure that 2016 is your best year ever.
What process are you committed to starting right now?