Whether I’m working with a group of emerging leaders on one of the courses I deliver within an organisation, or I’m working with more established leaders on a 1:1 basis, the tricky subject of delegation often rears its head at some point. To delegate successfully to another person, you need to manage how you approach it. Emailing someone and telling them to go to a meeting in your place may not be the best way to ensure an enthusiastic response.
I’ve written about some of the thorny issues when it comes to delegating before, here
Instead, you’ll need to get used to ‘selling’ the idea of what you’re delegating and work to engage your colleagues in the process – and here’s some suggested tips and an approach to help you do that. See this as ‘growing’ future leaders.
1. You’ll need to find the right person to delegate to – this means understanding the strengths of your team and their ambitions, so take some time to consider just who you have a round you. They need the ‘skill’ and the ‘will’ to take on the project/s.
2. Identify what you’re delegating and why you need to do this. Let’s imagine it’s a series of meetings.
3. Take your chosen ‘delegatee’ out for a coffee and talk to them about their ambitions and where they may see themselves in a couple of years. This process of delegating is part of your support for them as they begin to move on in their career.
4. Help them to identify the skills and experience that they might need to enable them to progress into this position, whether that’s internally or externally to your organisation. At this point you may want to share your experience of moving up in your career, what you found useful and the kinds of experiences you needed to take the next step.
5. Share with them how you could help them to do this – the task you have in mind for delegating, in this case the series of meetings.
6. Be sure to point out the career benefits of delegating the attendance at the meetings to them. For example, what benefits might there be for them in building a network of more senior contacts that they will meet at those meetings? What skills would the meeting help them to grow? How will the experience gained look on their CVs?
7. Be clear that you’re there to support them along the way – set some boundaries and expectations about the limits and the scope of their authority, and at what points along the way they would need to check in with you.
8. Inform other people what’s happening so that they are given due consideration in the meetings and their voice will be heard – maybe introduce them at a meeting to set them up for success.
9. Keep in touch with them.
10. Turn your attention to your own priorities.
There you have it – you can follow the same process for other projects you want to delegate. Ensure your motivation is right and your team member will gain some real benefit from it and then articulate that to them. You’ll be facilitating career growth in an ambitious team member and growing new leaders, which is an important part of a leader’s role.
And you could always recommend they download a free copy of The Communicate With Impact Grid to help them when it comes to having those impactful conversations at a more senior level!
I’m Susan Ritchie, and I help leaders and executives to develop the credibility, visibility and gravitas they need to create more impact – for themselves, their team and their organisation.