Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Delegate, don't Abdicate

A key responsibility of any leader is to prepare for the 'next'.  That is, who on the team has the potential to be promoted into a leadership role, either as a direct replacement or somewhere else in the company.

While training and experience are important factors in this consideration, few options are better than delegating in preparing the individual for future responsibilities.  Being given the challenge to do something that normally falls in the job description of the boss affords opportunity on several fronts.
  1. It very clearly signals satisfaction on the part of the manager with his/her team member.  This is an excellent motivator under any circumstances.
  2. The team member gets introduced to more complex decision making situations while still not being fully accountable for the outcome.  This learning process also acquaints the person with the nature of the responsibilities at the next level.  This will be important when a promotion is being considered.
  3. In some situations it allows the manager to off-load duties which are not critical but which need to be done.  In delegating though, the task must be one which is building into the individual, not simply offloading an unpleasant or unrewarding responsibility.
As the leader you must delegate, not abdicate, responsibilities.  You should ensure the following:
  1. You must be perfectly clear about the expectations, including:
    •  the time frame in which the task must be completed; 
    • the scope of authority you are extending;
    • the nature of the outcome, that is, are you looking for something to be done or only a recommendation;
    • any mandatory processes that are applicable;
   2.  You must supervise without interfering.  The individual must understand that you are available to provide direction when required and that you have not simply abandoned them to succeed or fail.
 
    3.  Others must be aware of the scope of authority that has been granted to assure their full cooperation as it may be needed.
 
    4.  Finally, ensure that you provide feedback in the form of a proper verbal and/or written review of their work.  How did it measure up to expectations?  How were inter-personal skills developed?  How did the individual grow through the process?

Delegation is an important tool in employee development.  Too often, the leader is intimidated by the notion that someone else may acquire the skills necessary to replace them and thus he/she intentionally limits progress.  This is clearly illogical thinking as one will never get ahead unless and until there is a viable option to replace them.  Lead with confidence and fully equip all those with potential.  Every one gains as knowledge and capabilities are enhanced. 


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