NewsAsk Your Fairygodmentor®: How To Delegate Effectively

Ask Your Fairygodmentor®: How To Delegate Effectively

by BLACK ENTERPRISE Editors

At the end of the delegated assignment, assess how the whole project went.

Dear,  Fairygodmentor
We have an annual event coming up that I’m always in charge of, and there’s a new team member that I manage who wants to take the lead this year. I want this new team member to feel more a part of what goes on here and grow his skills, and I wouldn’t mind having a bit off my plate. I’m really new to this. How did you know who and what to delegate? How do you handle delegation when it doesn’t go according to plan, like if someone doesn’t follow instructions? How do you delegate when you are all maxed out?

Sincerely,New to Delegation
Dear, New to Delegation
Think of delegation like Thanksgiving dinner: when your guests’ plates are full, you wouldn’t eat their food to make them feel better, right? Similarly, prioritize your own full plate before taking on more.

Make sure you select someone with the SKILL and WILL to do the work you’re delegating. This means having a transparent conversation about your direct report’s career goals and drive to do tasks outside their normal responsibilities.  
It doesn’t do you or the other party any good to delegate responsibility or project to him or her when they have no interest in doing it in the first place. And they don’t need to be an expert at this task yet but do they have the potential to execute. That’s the seed of development that needs to be cultivated. 

This is a great way to determine delegation readiness. Delegating means ensuring you’re on the same page regarding expectations. Not just your own expectations but what the delegated party expects from participating in this new responsibility level. Be clear with processes, if there are certain people to contact, deadlines to meet, or rules to follow—be very clear in outlining these and asking questions to check for understanding. This not only gives you peace of mind but also helps you ascertain if the delegated party is on the same page with what you’re looking for.
Check in regularly. This doesn’t mean MICROMANAGE. It means setting up regular weekly check-ins to see how the person is doing with the project. Are there any opportunities for clarification? What adjustments to the plan that need to be made? Are there other folks who need to be pulled in on decision-making? This is the time to check-in. Also, it’s nice to ask the delegated party how they feel they’re doing and to celebrate key learnings and milestones before getting to the finished product.  

Did something not work out according to plan? First, don’t beat yourself up for delegating. This CAN happen to anyone. Second, calmly discuss what happened with the person you delegated to. Work together to figure out where the gaps are and create solutions to fix it.
At the end of the delegated assignment, assess how the whole project went. Document the progress and process. Now, you have a standard operating procedure for the next time something like this may come up, and your team member can walk away feeling that they’ve added something new to their leadership tool belt. Win-win!

You got this!
Sincerely,
Your Fairygodmentor®

(Image courtesy of Kristen White Photography)

Source: Black Enterprise

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