3 Tips for Successfully Planning to Delegate
If you would classify your life as busy, raise your hand. My guess is that most of you raised your hand – myself included! With a relentless pursuit of even better, there is always something we can be adjusting or updating to make a process or a deliverable that much better for next time. But how do you fit that into an eight hour day? A 40-hour work week? A quarter? Sometimes you need to delegate!
Delegation can be hard – believe me I get it! Will the person I delegate to care as much as I do? Will they put as much attention to detail as I would? Will they deliver on time? Will they ask so many questions that I am basically doing it myself?
Slow down! With a little bit of planning, we can set ourselves up for delegation success! Let’s follow Cara as she plans to delegate a design task to her marketing team…
1. Plan for Alignment
When planning for alignment, you not only want to ensure you have the task delegated to the right person – whether that be the person who has the most bandwidth, the person who will grow the most from this task, or the person who knows the most about the task – you also want to ensure you have a clear communication plan on expectations, timelines, and how this aligns with your organizational goals. Why are you asking them to do this task? Where does it fit?
As Cara starts to think about the task, she thinks about her team. Andrew is swamped with a large marketing campaign right now and Julie is out of office for most of the month, but Mia has some bandwidth right now. She is also great with design and would really enjoy a project like this. Right person, check! Now she needs to ensure that Mia understands the why we’re doing this project and when it’s due. To help with the planning, Cara makes up a quick Project One Sheet that lays out all the information easily for Mia to reference back. When they meet tomorrow, Cara will walk Mia through the document and make sure she knows where it lives.
2. Plan for Feedback
Plan for clear feedback along the way, and stick to the plan. Schedule check-ins at milestones to review, and remember, feedback is a gift! By sticking to your feedback plan, you’re empowering the person to make choices and learn from this task.
To make sure Mia has the support she needs, Cara schedules a series of meetings. She schedules a 30-minute meeting to hand off the project, then a series of 15 minute meetings every two weeks to check in and review. She’ll make sure Mia knows she can ask questions, but she won’t check in until the two-week check in meeting.
3. Plan for A Coach Approach
Sometimes our feedback will be course correction feedback. What a great opportunity to take a coach approach! Ask open-ended questions, and then listen! Listen to their response and respond to what they said. A coach approach keeps constructive feedback conversational.
At the first check in meeting, Cara notices Mia’s design is missing some key elements of the project. Using the coach approach, Cara asks, “Can you talk me through how you decided which elements to include in the design?” As Mia starts explaining, she realizes she forgot those key elements and makes a note to add them before their next check in.
The project Mia worked on was a success and Cara was able to celebrate Mia and her work with the whole team. Delegation doesn’t have to be scary or hard, if we just do that little bit of prep work at the beginning, and then follow-through with our plan!
How about you? How do you delegate?