What is a key to successful delegation?
Don’t just delegate responsibility.
Give people the authority to determine how the work gets completed. In healthy delegation, you have already helped them determine what a win looks like. You helped shape the vision. Now, let them set the tasks to complete the job. Let them determine timing and the players on their team. It’s so much better than simply holding them responsible. When people have authority they take ownership. They assume (partial) liability. They become personally attached to the outcome.
Responsibility without authority only puts pressure on people. When a person is responsible for completion, but has no authority of how to make it happen, it becomes a job more than a mission. It’s frustrating.
Granted, letting go of authority is hard. It won’t always work. The truth is people will disappoint you…they won’t do the job the way you were expecting. Simply releasing responsibility seems freeing. Releasing authority seems risky.
Oh, but when it does work…when delegation takes hold completely…effectively…you, the organization and the entire team benefits. And, the reward is far greater than a project not properly delegated.
Great leaders push through the fear of letting go by trusting people to make decisions, so that ultimately more decisions can be made, leadership development occurs, and the organization grows.
Not to sound contradictory, but this doesn’t mean you are off the hook as the delegating leader. I wrote about that in THIS POST. Successful delegation requires releasing responsibility, and authority over the delegated project, while maintaining a healthy, though distant, oversight until the project is completed. I know, that’s difficult, but it’s part of what makes leading so much fun …and so much better.
Be honest, how are you at releasing authority?