|Four Factors in Delegation
Delegating a task or decision doesn’t always come easy. Many people have a hard time delegating; to their direct report; to a new employee; and even to a child. Being asked to make decisions and act on your own is the reverse, i.e. someone has to delegate that responsibility to you.
There are many factors for successful delegation, including clarity of task, skills match, etc. I often hear “trust” in the context of “I need to trust someone to delegate to them”. Examining what most people mean by “trust” results really as a sense of “confidence”. So we look at the “confidence” side of delegating and being delegated to.
Let’s begin by defining two words:
Delegator: The person who delegates a task or responsibility.
Delegatee: The person who is the recipient of the task or responsibility from the delegator.
Four ingredients to generate confidence to delegate are the “I care”, “My Considerations”, “Thinking Process”, and “Check in” factors. Whether you’re a delegator, or delegatee, consider the following:
“I Care” factor. It’s hard to delegate any task if you don’t think the person who you are delegating the task to cares as much about the result as you. If you want more delegated to you, you have to show that you have as much, or more, of the “I Care” factor, as the delegator.
“My Considerations” factor. When you delegate a task, the delegatee may not accomplish the task in the way you would have. Most people are OK with that. However, delegators often need to have confidence that the delegatee will at least take into consideration the thoughts, experience and concerns of the delegator. “Consideration” is the key word. The delegatee just needs to show genuine consideration for the thoughts of the delegator, even if the end result of that consideration is not to adopt any of those thoughts into a solution or result.
“Thinking Process” factor. For many delegators, it’s important that they understand the thinking process that the delegatee will use in order to accomplish a task. Does the delegatee have a good process to understand the situation and the information, i.e. is the delegatee thinking critically? This is especially important when the delegatee solves a problem or takes an action that is new or different from what the delegator knows. The delegatee needs to share their thinking.
“Check in” factor. When someone delegates a task to a delegatee, that doesn’t mean that the delegator forgets about it. If you delegate don’t assume the delegatee will keep you informed in the timeframe and on the issues that you would like. Communicate how you would like the “check in”. When do you want a progress report, how detailed, what issues should be escalated, etc. Make that Clear! If you’re a delegatee, ask the delegator about how often they want a progress report, how much detail, what issues should you “check in” with.
If you want more to be delegated to you, are you
(a) Caring as much as the delegator
(b) Understanding the delegators point of view, their experience, their ideas
(c) Getting the confidence of the delegator by demonstrating that you have a good process to think about the situation and come up with actions, solutions and results, i.e. demonstrate that you are a critical thinker.
(d) Establish an agreed upon “check in”
If you are a delegator, look for these traits in those you are delegating to. This will allow you to step away and not be a micro-manager, and not lose sleep at night worrying if something you delegated is going to be accomplished with the expected result.