Different Ways To Delegate

I am a believer in delegation. When you have a long list of projects, and if you have someone on your team who might be able to take on one of your tasks, you are accomplishing two things by delegating. The first and most obvious is that you have one less thing to do.  But delegating a task to someone else also teaches them a new skill, thus making them even more valuable to your organization and helping with their professional development. But there are different levels of delegation that might make it easy for you to let go of a task. 

The first level of delegation is direct. You know why it needs to be done, and you provide specific instructions on how to get it done. You most frequently use this method with an intern or someone new to the field. They don’t have to make any decisions. All they have to do is follow your directions. 

Another type is asking someone to investigate and research options related to the issue. They are expected to bring important information back to you because you are not giving them the power to act on the information. Once you review the research, you might decide and provide further instructions to your colleague. The key is you reserve the right to make the decision yourself. 

A similar type of delegation involves doing the same kind of research, but you are asking the person to make a recommendation to you. You will still decide, but you will consider the advice from the person who handled the research.  This empowers your colleague to do everything except for making the final decision. 

If you have a high level of trust in the person you are delegating to, you can ask the person to research, make a decision and report back to you to know how the issue was handled. This signals that you have a high level of trust in the person. 

And finally, the last type of delegation is asking someone to handle a problem and issue. But, in this case, you empower the person to research and make a decision without notifying you of what happened. You don’t need further information as you trust the person to do the right thing. 

Training your team so that you can move people up the delegation scale. As Jeffrey Pfeffer, the Thomas D. Dee II Professor of Organizational Behavior at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, says, “Your most important task as a leader is to teach people how to think and ask the right questions so that the world doesn’t go to hell if you take a day off.”

Effective leaders know how to delegate. Find out more HERE.

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