In order to be a truly effective leader or CEO you need to have mastered the art of delegation. If you want to extend your reach beyond what you can personally accomplish, you must delegate some things to other people. As an executive coach, I assist clients in learning how to effectively delegate.
Delegation can be quite daunting to some executives and CEO’s. They feel that they alone can do the job better than anyone else within their company can. They fear that the job will not be completed properly or on time. In some situations, I have worked with CEOs who actually believed that, if they were not doing the project themselves, it would not be completed at all. As a coach, I help my clients see that if they keep projects to themselves instead of delegating them, the result will be that they will ultimately receive less attention than they deserves. The results are bottlenecks and a reduction in the profitability of their business.
There are four steps to effective delegating that you will help you become better at it:
1. Delegate the project to someone who can get it done. A staff member who either has, or has access to, the skills, knowledge and resources needed. Sometimes the first step in the project will be education. Perhaps your delegate has to attend a seminar or take a course to get up to speed. Make sure that the person to whom you are delegating has time to complete the project.
If you do not do that, you are simply setting them up to fail and setting yourself up for disappointment. Do not just hand your task to the next warm body. Make sure that this project will not ended up being just more work for someone who is already overburdened.
2. Specify your exact conditions of satisfaction. Time frame, outcomes, budget constraints, are all conditions that must be spelled out. Anything less will create failure so make sure you have obtained mutual agreement on the essential requirements that define how this job should be handled, and what the outcome should look like. Remember to communicate effectively with your staff members.
3. Work out a plan. Depending on the complexity of the delegated project, then it may be critical to create a plan. Devise a plan that should include resources, approach or methodology, time-line, measures and milestones.
4. Keep all lines of communication open. Devise a communications procedure. Create a predefined mechanism to keep you informed, and to give your staff member an opportunity to seek guidance when needed.
Just as you will keep your member of staff, to whom you have delegated projects too, accountable for their work, keep yourself accountable for monitoring progress and giving needed support..
Remember that you if you should leave out any one of these steps, you will radically decrease the likelihood that project will turn out the way that you want them to. However, if you follow these steps meticulously, you will greatly increase the odds in your favor.
As General Patton said, “Never tell people how to do things. Tell them what to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity.”
© Dr. Earl R. Smith II