Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: Coaching leaders for 30 years and teaching leadership to graduate students for 24 years, I believe the greatest leadership weakness is the desire to “do it yourself” rather than delegate when someone else is better at doing it than you. To address this I created the 3-STRand leadership test.
Take this test to find your leadership style and who you should have on your team. Then read this article for application ideas.
The Best Managers Share Authority. Now It Teaches Them to Delegate Using This 7-Step Process by Michael Schneider, Inc. Magazine, 7/22/19.
The best Google managers empower their teams and do not micromanage.
This idea came in at number two on Google’s top 10 list of effective manager traits. If you haven’t heard the story, Google in an effort to prove that bosses weren’t necessary, ended up finding the exact opposite — managers not only matter, but they can significantly influence the performance of their teams. But, they didn’t stop there. After realizing that managers were important, they embarked on a quest to uncover all the behaviors that made some more effective than others. The initiative became known as Project Oxygen…
To help its managers determine the work that they should delegate, Google asks leaders to:
- Look at the goals. What is the end-game and what does the team need to do to achieve its goals. Break down the work and identify parts that can be delegated.
- Look at yourself. In which areas do you have strengths and responsibilities, and what should you delegate?
- Recognize the right person for the work. Take a look at your team’s skills and ask yourself who has clear strengths in the areas you want to delegate. Use your employees like “chess pieces” and strategically assign work that plays to their abilities. In the process, you’ll not only empower but also increase the overall productivity of the team.
…Google has broken down the process into these seven steps:
1. Give an overview of the work.
Discuss the scope and significance of the project. Tell your employee why you selected them and the impact that the work has on the business.
2. Describe the details of the new reasonability.
Discuss your desired outcome and clarify expectations. Tell the employee what you expect, but not how to do it. It’s essential to give them the autonomy and freedom to learn and grow from the experience — not just follow orders.
3. Solicit questions, reactions, and suggestions.
The conversation should be a two-way street. Remember, the ultimate goal is to put your employee in the driver seat. Make sure they have all the information they need to assume ownership, accountability, and meet expectations.
4. Listen to the delegatee’s comments and respond empathetically.
This is new and uncharted territory for your employee. Ease their anxiety and create a psychologically safe environment where the employee feels comfortable voicing concerns, discussing hesitations, and coming to you for help.
5. Share how this impacts the team.
So employees understand the importance of their work and prioritize accordingly, make sure that you connect the dots and explain how the task supports other team initiatives.
6. Be encouraging.
Employees won’t take full responsibility until you encourage them to. Make sure they understand that you’re trusting them to deliver results.
7. Establish checkpoints, results, deadlines, and ways to monitor progress.
Although they have the autonomy, make sure employees know the critical milestones they need to hit and what success look like to gauge progress.