Donna's blog on coaching, leadership, and life

Want to be a more effective delegator?

If you consider yourself a less than effective delegator, here are a few questions and considerations that have helped me and others that I’ve coached.

Are you fully aware of all of your direct reports’ volume of activity and capacity? If you’re not sure, you might ask your team members about their current work volume and pace, their perception of their capacity for more, and/or where they might like to take on more responsibility. Let them know that you’re exploring some future opportunities to delegate and ask for help, so you’d like to get a sense of their availability.
When delegating, are you activating accountability through non-arguable outcomes and specific target dates? Once you’ve agreed on a target date, prompt yourself on those days/weeks when you’re expecting to receive completed work, so that you can follow up soon after the target date if the assignment is not received. If you demonstrate this level of follow up, individuals will soon realize that you’re serious about target dates.
Have you continued to transition to new levels of delegation as your position and team matures? For example, if you want to kick start a creative project you’ve been putting off, ask one of your direct reports to come up with a first draft project plan or an informal set of ideas, from his or her perspective, and use it as a springboard to further your own strategic thinking about the project.

Not sure you’re ready to delegate any further, but find yourself swamped? A small step you can take today—without any commitment yet—is to start a log on your desktop. As you’re working over the next couple of weeks, jot down those items, tasks or projects that you think may be able to be delegated at some point. Once you have a few things on the list, you might be motivated to try delegating one or two items. It’s a start.

One of the most significant keys to our own growth and success, is our ability to let go enough to effectively delegate, coach and mentor others towards their growth and success.


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