I write much about delegation, because I believe it is critical to a healthy and growing organization. Much of my experience comes from learning what not to do, either from my own mistakes, leaders I’ve attempted to follow, or through other people’s stories, leading me to write posts such as last week’s 10 reasons not to call yourself an empowering leader.
I realize it is equally important to help leaders understand the “how to” of delegation. It’s not enough just to practice delegation. We have to learn to do it right. Previously I posted 3 Steps to Get Started Delegating. This post will take this thought process a step further.
Here are 4 critical aspects of healthy delegation:
Assignment – The activity, program, ministry, or project you are delegating must be clearly understood by the person to whom you are delegating. This is a difficult one for me, because I don’t always do details very well, but you want people to have enough information to do the job right.
Authority – I personally despise responsibility without authority. You cannot expect a leader to get excited about completing a task they have never been given the full authority to do. If you truly want to delegate, you must make sure the delegated leader has the resources and information needed and then get out of the way and let him or her lead.
Accountability – This is not micro-management, but oversight; and even with delegation, accountability should be a part of the equation. It’s what keeps people honest, heading in the right direction, and ensures completion. This is one of my weak areas also, because I tend to put trust in people to do the task they have been assigned and, therefore, I fail to follow up as often as I should. It’s important to remain close enough, without hovering too close to the delegated leader, to answer questions as they arise and help them continue on track to success. Asking the question “What can I do to help?” should be a part of healthy delegation.
Affirmation – People need to know you are pleased with their work and progress. This is not only common courtesy, but it keeps them willing to accept more responsibility in the future. I like to share praise with a larger group of people. It builds a better sense of affirmation when you are willing to share your praise of another’s work with a larger audience.
Don’t be afraid of delegation, especially because you don’t think you know how. It gets easier and work better with practice. Future leaders need room to breathe and grow and delegation helps build their leadership abilities. They will make mistakes (which is one thing insecure leaders fear), but the learning process, combined with the shared energy of getting more leaders involved, will help make your organization healthy and spur it’s continual growth.
Which of these four aspects of delegation is hardest for you?
What am I missing in this post about healthy delegation?