The most common type of delegation actually isn’t delegation at all. Mike calls it “Deciding”. This is what happens when you hire someone to help you with a task or a job, but you don’t ever train or empower them to make any decisions on their own. …
How does this differ from actual delegation?
Assign an Outcome
Actual delegation happens when you assign a task to someone while also empowering them to make any decisions related to completing that task.
Put another way, you are delegating the outcome.
When you can delegate the outcome, it is liberating to everyone involved. Your team member feels trusted and empowered to do their job without you micromanaging them. And you are free to focus on the things that you need to do.
Reward Ownership (Rather Than Quality)
One other thing related to delegating that stood out to me was the importance of rewarding a team-member’s ownership of a task and not the quality of the outcome of that task.
You must allow them to make mistakes, or do things differently. Because they will.
If you only ever reward them when they do things just perfectly the exact same way that you would have done it, then all you’re doing is training them to ask you for a decision at every juncture.
So, instead, celebrate their ability to think and work with autonomy while giving candid and helpful feedback to help them make better decisions in the future.
As Mike writes, it all boils down to letting go of perfectionism.
(Via Shawn Blanc)
There are three dimensions I use when delegating:
- What is the desired outcome?
- What are the constraints – money, resources, legal/regulatory, &t.?
- By when does it need to be done?
And it’s important to be available to provide coaching along the way when asked for or needed. My preferred approach is to ask questions back as, unless the issue is particular, the person to whom you delegated probably already knows the answer. As Sean Blanc said above, “You must allow them to make mistakes, or do things differently. Because they will”.