Delegate Desired Results, Not Activities

Why is delegating so dang hard? If you’re anything like me, it’s truly not about relinquishing control that causes so much anguish, but rather the fear of leaving an unknown quality of work in someone else’s hands. Let’s face it, depending on others is scary, but it’s absolutely necessary for growth - yours and theirs!

So how can you alleviate some of the pain that comes with delegation, while not micromanaging, and still get optimal results?

1. Declare Intent- How many times have you heard someone say, I’m not a mind reader? Don’t assume peers or subordinates understand the task you’re handing off. Most importantly, don’t assume they understand what the task means to you. If you’re delegating a responsibility, take the time to brief them on it - what it’s for, who it’s for, and the weight it carries. Provide the WHY to the WHAT.  Extending this common courtesy helps shape a perspective, it generates “Buy In”- personal investment to the outcome, almost guaranteeing more mindful work.

2. Offer Clarity- Regardless of how big or small the task may be, you probably have a vision or level of expectation as to how it ‘looks’ completed. Rather than bite your tongue and secretly cringe over their use of 12-point Comic Sans font, let your neurotic ways be known.  Sure, it may seem a little OCD at first but it will keep you from (a) micromanaging (hovering over) every little detail along the way, driving yourself and the person completing the work bananas (b) perfecting revising the completed work to fulfill all your little idiosyncrasies which in turn creates a “not good enough” feeling (c) having undefined objectives for achievement by leaving too much up for interpretation.

3. Practice Accountability- When you take the time to declare intent and offer clarity, you are basically providing a road map.

You are HERE X ---> You need to get THERE X. There are multiple routes that can be taken.
I need you to go by X, Y, and Z along the way. Oh, and make sure you’re THERE X by THIS time.

Providing a road map or guide on how to go about achieving the desired results sets clear and measurable milestones along the way cultivating an environment in which people hold themselves accountable vs. having to be held accountable. An accountable environment is about developing, building, maintaining, giving, and receiving trust. And trust is the most powerful, compelling form of motivation.



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