70: Learn to Lead: Ten Skills Every New Leader Must Master: Hands Off Delegation Skills
- Why poor delegation is so damaging in leadership
- Four questions every follower asks
- Why a lot of leaders suck at delegation
- Tips for excelling at great delegation – how to be hands off but not out of sight
- Leave you with ten great action points related to delegation
1. Why poor delegation is so damaging in leadership
Delegation is really an issue of respect, and how much we respect those that are “under” us on our team. With responsibility comes the authority to do a job. If you respect people, you will give them authority with responsibility. Even if you have difficulty respecting the people you work with, you can still set a good example for them by being respectful, and helping them grow in their jobs.
The quote for the show:
“It’s amazing what a man or a woman can accomplish in life if they don’t care who gets the credit.”
You know why I love delegation so much? Because of these reasons:
Never tell people how to do things.
Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.
– General George Patton Jr
- It develops people
- It mentors others
- It taps into the collective genius
- It builds a strong team
- It spreads the load
- It empowers other to contribute
- It’s about “we”, not just about “me”
“If everyone is thinking alike, someone isn’t thinking.” – General George Patton Jr
“I’d rather get ten men to do the job than to do the job of ten men.” —D. L. Moody
2. Four Questions Every Follower Asks
You know how there are certain things you learn in life that you refer to over and over? They are enduring life lessons! I first heard this probably 25 years ago, and to this day it is one of the most simple and important principles of being a great leader:
Let’s unpack each just a bit:
- What am I supposed to do? Clear instructions and expectations.
- Will you let me do it? Will I get the authority with the responsibility? Will you micro-manage me or trust me?
- Will you help me when I need it? This is where mentoring and coaching comes in. Be available as a resource, not a control freak.
- Will you let me know how I am doing? – Feedback and check-ins. Very important!
Three signs of a lousy job:
- I am invisible – no one sees me
- I am insignificant – I am not making any difference
- I am an island – I get no feedback
So how do you feel as a result of poor delegation that you have been a victim of? Has this ever happened to you? How did it make you feel?
You know how to avoid doing that to others? Learn how to be a great delegator!
3. Why a lot of leaders suck at delegation
If you have people reporting to you, what kind of a report card would they give you? On a scale of 1 to 10?
These are the top 7 reasons why leaders don’t delegate, which I explain in detail in the episode:
- Fear of losing authority
- Fear of work being done poorly
- Fear of work being done better
- Unwillingness to take the necessary time
- Fear of depending on others
- Lack of leadership training and positive delegation experience
- Fear of losing value in the organization
Every leader has at least some of these hang-ups. Growing and learning how to get past them is essential for improving your delegation, which is a key to growing as a leader.
4. Tips for excelling at great delegation – how to be hands off but not out of sight
“The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men and women to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” —Theodore Roosevelt
My basic rule on delegation: The one who had the responsibility should be allowed to control the design and execution. Illustration of needing a new website. Or hiring new staff. Or starting a new program.
Rule of thumb: When a person is delegated a job to do, they should be allowed to choose how the job is done as much as possible. There are exceptions to this like with fire fighters and medical personnel that must follow procedures.
It is okay to check on their work, but we should not be looking over the shoulder of the one delegated work to make sure they are doing it the way we would, or employing the same strategy we would. The important thing in good delegation is that the job gets done.
“I don’t have a problem with delegation. I love to delegate. I am either lazy enough, or busy enough, or trusting enough, or congenial enough, that the notion leaving tasks in someone else’s lap doesn’t just sound wise to me, it sounds attractive.”-John Ortberg
10 Key Ingredients for Hands off delegation
Leading and Managing are Both Key to Effective Leadership
“The distinction between leading and managing is a subject of ongoing debate. Leading is often characterized as the more glamorous job: leaders guide, influence, and inspire their people while managers implement ideas and get things done. But leaders who focus exclusively on coming up with big, vague ideas for others to implement can become disconnected from their team or organization. Avoid being a “big-picture only” leader. Make decisions and develop strategies that take into account the real-world constraints of cost and time. Stay involved with the details of implementation. Sure it’s easier to come up with ideas and tell others to make them so, but you also need to roll up your sleeves and understand what it takes to make those ideas a reality.” -Harvard Business Review by Robert Sutton who has conducted extensive research on effective leadership.
- Have a vision to develop other people under your supervision by learning how to delegate really well.
- Exhibit confidence in their work, this will grow with time. Have faith in them.
- Make their duties clear.
- Delegate the proper authority with the responsibility.
- Do not tell them how to actually do the work. Unless you are doing brain surgery or building an airliner!
- Let go of your desire to do it better yourself!
- Set up accountability points along the way.
- Supervise according to their follow through style.
- Give them room to fail occasionally.
- Give praise and credit for work well done.