Okay, so if you are going to hire someone to wrap all of your Christmas presents, would you really wrap them all and put a pretty red bow on them before handing them off to the person you hired? Hmmm, likely not. But doesn’t this also apply to delegation in the workplace?. If, for you, delegation means that you nearly complete the task before handing it off, then you are wrapping the project up with a pretty red bow and then handing it off.
Before we go any further, however, let’s look more closely at the key Leadership concept of delegation. Delegation is giving someone else an opportunity to learn something they didn’t already know. And yes, workaholics, control freaks and Type A types, this works for you, too, so before you think to yourself, “but I can’t delegate, it may not get done right!”, remember: that’s part of the process and your role as a leader. In fact, in Contagious Leadership we mention in Chapter 2 that Leaders take interest in the growth of others. How better to help them grow than to share a new task they’ve not experienced or learned or practiced many times before? You literally add to the skill set of the “delegate-ee”, which is NOT the same as pawning off all the junk you don’t like to do. People to whom you delegate are NOT the same as Mikey in the old Life Cereal box commercial. They’re not compelling you to “Give it to Mikey, he’ll eat anything!”
Try these steps next time you want to delegate a proje
ct or task:
Clearly Define the Outcome of the Project – as without clearly defined results, you are relying on the limited experience in this area of the person to whom you are delegating.
Describe the Parameters – or give them “curbs” on this road that you don’t want them to cross or bump into so they know how far to either side of your request they can travel.
Set up a Timeline and Touch Base Points – “when you get a sec” is not a valid timeline. Give them a timeline to reach for and times when they can expect you to check up on the progress. No timelines will often result in micro-management from their perspective.
Let it Go! Delegation is only effective when you really let them have the project and use their own gifts, skills, talents, and ideas to complete it. In fact, if you do it all for them and wrap it up in that pretty red bow, before you hand it off, or if you tell them too many details for the project, you literally train that person to not use their creativity or their own initiative. I’ll say again, you literally train the initiative right out of that person. Isn’t initiative a trait we are always looking for in employees and team members? Stay away from the “red bows” so to speak and you may just find they have way more than you thought.