Leadership – Delegation Factsheet
The Art of delegation
What is in our intray? We see our weaknesses. We recognise our strengths. We go for SHORT courses. We watch TED talks! We translate the delegated task into reality for agreement. We balance being supportive with being direct and giving feedback gently. And yet we still feel that this is not enough.
A delegate on one of our courses said confidently that “The best way of learning is to teach somebody else”. He added that he found that clear instructions, tactfully communicated with clear boundaries and report back processes worked really well for him. Where he struggled initially was in giving constructive feedback. He found that as he built confidence in dealing with situations where the work was not up to scratch, it became easier for him delegate as he strengthened the trust in his delegates.
How can delegation help?
Delegation can help by creating more time for you to do other things and manage your time better. It can also help you to make connections with others. While we can be similar in some ways, we think and do things differently. Having a shared goal and different ways of achieving it by sharing the task can be up lifting and make the goal more achievable. No teamwork can be achieved without delegating.
- Identify what delegates need to know and build a resource pool or knowledge bank (eg frequently asked questions). Build your confidence in the delegates and encourage them to trust you and recognise your experience
- Let your delegates know where to go for help
- As delegate be open to learning something new
- Value the time and experience of others
- When you delegate experiment with using timely reminders which are not intruisive
- Develop adult to adult relationships with your delegates
- Shape constructive dialogue channels with your delegates – having an understanding of their perspective
- Being diplomatic, calm and fair
- Ensure the schemes of delegation match the positive qualities of the organisation
- Be ready and willing to answering questions
- Balance technical and personal skills needed in various roles
- Identify what strategies that will reassure, affirm or support)
- Develop trouble shooting techniques in event of the delegation going wrong.
Sometimes it does go wrong. So what do you do?
When It Goes Wrong
Analyse what went wrong
Make sure thing are resolved. Put out the fire, don’t blame.
Move on and fess up where appropriate
Talk about it and see what you can learn
Remember a stich in time saves name – develop mitigation strategies
Sometimes we fail to delegate because we don’t trust that anyone can do it as well as
Building Trust – What Helps?
Develop a reminder system- also remind yourself about ‘how I do this’
Encourage good communication
You are able to answer, ‘I know what is happening’
Ask sensible questions
Consistency – keeping promises
Let me know if it can’t be done
Renegotiate if possible
- Think through the steps on delegation
- In the team build openness by talking about your experiences as you share roles, responsibilities and tasks
- Recognise when you demonstrate poor delegation
- Develop e-delegation protocols (design protocols for electronic delegation)
- As a delegator think of ways of improving how you delegate
- Encourage delegates to undertake training that is needed to carry out the task
- Break down the delegated tasks into byte size chunks and
- follow through to the end
- Dealing with the fallout of mis-delegation
- Learn for the future
- Celebrate when you are doing the things right in the right way at the right time!
Key Messages From Delegators
“The more I make myself clear to the delegate, the clearer things will be”
“I let delegates know they reassure me and this builds their confidence and develops my supportive side”
” I THINK HOW MUCH autonomy there is in the delegation and I create the environment that builds confidence in the delegate. I have found that delegates use their own initiative more as their confidence grows”