DELEGATING is your ability to transfer your authority to another to empower them to act on your behalf in the conduct of a specific assignment, to get more done than you ever could on your own, to develop their skills and abilities, and to accomplish your employer’s goals.
You remain responsible for the other person’s acts or omissions in carrying out the delegation.
Extracted from The Effectiveness Guide:
“When in doubt, mumble; when in trouble, delegate; when in charge, ponder.”
– James H. Boren
This site will help you enhance your ability to Delegate!
Delegating is the process of granting or transferring authority from one person (the Delegator) to another (the Delegatee) to do something (the Assignment).
This empowers the Delegatee to act independently with the appropriate resources to accomplish the assignment. The Delegator remains responsible for the Delegatee’s acts or omissions in carrying out the purpose of the assignment. The Delegator doesn’t have to be a superior. Delegators are often peers, friends, or even superiors.
Delegating is critical to the success and effectiveness of both leaders and followers because the leader can’t do everything.
“Strange as it sounds, great leaders gain authority by giving it away.”
– Admiral James B. Stockdale
As a Leader:
You can never convince your followers that you trust them unless you’re willing to delegate your assigned duties and problems to them. Delegation saves money and time, motivates followers, and creates more effective teams. This empowers your followers to act independently with the appropriate resources to accomplish your assignments.
When delegating, 5% of the leader’s job is telling his followers what he wants done. The other 95% is following through to ensure it gets done.
And, your followers must be able to function in your absence. If not, you have set them up for failure. Develop, nurture, and use others as a resource to act on your behalf.
As a Follower:
You can never become an effective follower, gain experience or credibility without the opportunity to perform. Your job is to consistently produce excellent results that contribute to your leader’s goals. The more assigned duties you successfully perform for your leader, the more your effectiveness, success, and credibility will grow.
What must the Leader Delegate to Survive?
Which leader duties should be delegated and to whom? First, the leader can’t delegate away his responsibilities.
Leaders are responsible for everything that happens
or fails to happen within their unit.
But he can delegate his authority. The only question is WHAT should be delegated and TO WHOM?
Here’s the SECRET:
For any leader to be effective, he must assign every one of his
assigned duty to a follower as part of their Job Description.
Leaders have two categories of duties: Assigned and Inherent.
- Assigned duties are duties stated in a Job Description
- Inherent duties are generic leader ONLY duties expected and performed by all leaders that cannot be reassigned
Since the responsibility for all duties (both assigned and inherent) belong to the leader, delegate each assigned duty to a follower and train them how to perform these duties to standard. This may sound somewhat strange at first. But, if the leader fails to do this, he’ll quickly be overwhelmed.
What are the most important Leader ONLY Inherent Duties that will consume 90% of their time and energy?
- Traveling and attending meetings they must attend
- Conducting internal meetings
- Briefings those they must brief
- Responding to emails, voicemails, and other correspondence
- Delegating assignments and problems to team members to resolve
- Training members how to successfully complete projects
- Solving problems that only the leader must check on and/or resolve
- Extinguishing last minute fires only they can put out
- Conducting interviews, performance reviews, organizing, and building teams
- Checking, inspecting, re-inspecting, visiting, and organizing
- Planning, delegating, setting goals, standards, and priorities
- Supervising, following-up, reprimanding, and promoting
- Counseling, inspiring, motivating, praising, and encouraging
- Consoling, challenging, and coaching
As you consider all these leader ONLY inherent duties, realize that they’re the most important things any leader can do. This is the primary reason the leader should delegate all his assigned duties to his followers. As a follower, the more leader assigned duties you can successfully perform, the more effective you become. Effective leaders know that they can never consistently produce excellent results without developing, nurturing, and enabling their team members to act on his behalf.
Important Delegation Terms
Leader: The person in-charge, responsible for a team of people
Follower: Someone who reports directly to a leader for their work assignments. This term is interchangeable with employee, subordinate, associate, direct report, or worker)
Team: A group of followers who report to the same leader for their work assignments
Assignment: Anything you are asked or expected to do or perform.
Task: Assignment that one person can easily complete
Project: Assignment that requires the effort of others (like events or activities). Also, every project will have sub-projects, tasks, and sub-tasks that must be completed to ensure the success of the project.
Requested Assignment: New assignment that you will be asked to perform by your leader.
Expected Assignment: Assignment that is already part of your job description that you will not be asked to perform. An example might be a recruiting event or a trade show.
Important Delegation Concepts
“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Do you know the most important component to delegation? You should not be surprised that it’s trust. How much does your leader trust you? How much trust do you have with your followers?
Why are some leaders reluctant to delegate?
The main phobia leaders have is losing control. I get it. However, the truth is that you never had control in the first place.
Control is an illusion! But, influence, through persuasion, is achievable.
The sooner you realize this fact, the quicker you’ll achieve serenity and let others do their job. The key to delegating is to do so gradually.
Why is trust so important to delegating?
How much does your leader trust you? How much do you trust your followers? Trust involves many variables. If you’ve worked with the follower for a while, you’ll have a better feel for his capabilities and limitations. Since we all mature at our pace, each of your followers will be at a different level of maturity or a different level of personal responsibility. Delegation is far more than just asking someone to do something.
Are there different degrees of delegating?
You bet! Since delegation is about trust and granting authority, there are definite degrees of delegating. Here’s a list showing the different degrees of delegating starting with granting very little authority and little trust and ending with granting full authority and complete trust:
- Get the facts and bring them to me for action (little trust & authority)
- Develop alternatives and I’ll take action based on the facts
- Be prepared to take action, but don’t do anything until I say so
- Tell me what you propose to do and when
- Analyze the situation, take action, and tell me the results
- Just go! Here’s the situation, deal with it! (complete trust and authority)
Know your REDCAPS!
“You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today.”
– Abraham Lincoln
REDCAPS are your Responsibilities, Expectations, Duties,
Constraints, Authority, Projects, and Standards.
Have you ever been surprised by implied, expected or otherwise fuzzy requirements from your leader? To avoid this, work hard to get clarity from your leader in these categories:
What are your Responsibilities? Responsibility is defined as a duty or obligation to satisfactorily perform or complete a task that one must fulfill, and which has a consequent penalty for failure. Your duties and responsibilities are found in your job description and can also be assigned to you by your leader. Accepting complete responsibility for what you say and do (and what you fail to do and say) and the consequences are the first step to becoming effective. Effective team members understand that only their leader bears the ultimate responsibility for the decision and the result. Once the decision is made, they set aside their personal opinions and get to work executing the decision.
What are your Leader’s Expectations? Expectations come directly from your leader and the company. Ask your leader for his expectations and goals for you and take careful notes. If they’re not clear, ask for clarification. What does your leader expect of you in the first 90 days, year? Also, know your leader’s REDCAPS and goals, as well as his priorities.
What are your Duties? Your duties, like your responsibilities, are an obligation to satisfactorily perform or complete a task that has a consequent penalty for failure. Your duties are the tasks your leader needs you to perform and are found in your job description and can also be assigned to you by your leader.
What’s the difference between Duties and Responsibilities?
Duties: Actions that must be completed by someone by a stipulated time.
Responsibilities: The burden that is shouldered by someone.
Note: Duties can be assigned and reassigned – responsibility cannot!
What are your Constraints? Constraints include imperatives and restrictions: Imperatives are things you must do (like meeting the goals for your unit), and Restrictions are things you must not do (like not accepting gifts from vendors), which come from your leader and your organization’s policies and procedures and includes borders and limits.
Borders are official/unofficial lines dividing one area from another telling who is responsible for what.
Limits are the point at which something ends or beyond which it becomes something else (like the limit of your authority to decide or to act).
What do you have the Authority to do? Authority is your leader’s permission given to a trusted member to take certain agreed-upon actions on the leader’s behalf in support of the member’s official duties and responsibilities. Authority, unlike responsibility, can be given (granted, limited) to perform a specific assignment. When a leader asks a team member to perform an assignment, he is giving his authority (with limitations) to act on his behalf. Authority can include things like the ability to make work assignments, hire and fire, make decisions, or spend money.
What are your Projects? Projects consist of three categories: Past projects that were completed before your arrival, Current projects that are incomplete, pending or remain unfulfilled, and Future projects that are coming up soon.
What are the Standards you must maintain? Standards are the established norm or required minimum level of conformity to organizational policy, criteria, methods, processes, practices, and expectations for both results and behavior. The standard must also satisfy the needs and expectations of your leader and your customer. To find the standards that apply to you, review all organizational guidance, policies, standards of conduct and behavior along with any Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), and your leader’s goals and standards for results.
To put this all together, start by documenting all your Responsibilities, Expectations, Duties, Constraints, Authority, Projects, Standards by:
- Reviewing your Job Description with your leader
- Asking your leader for his REDCAPS, goals, and expectations
- Asking your peers for any hidden REDCAPS
- Asking your predecessor (if available) about any hidden or unstated REDCAPS
To be continued: If you’d like to learn more about enhancing your ability to DELEGATE, you can do so by adding this book to your professional library, today!
YOUR GUIDE TO
Here you’ll learn these skills:
CHAPTER 1: BY USING THE POWER OF DELEGATION
CHAPTER 2: BY BUILDING TRUST
CHAPTER 3: BY IDENTIFYING YOUR “REDCAPS”
CHAPTER 4: BY KEEPING YOUR “FLEXIBILITY TO RESPOND”
CHAPTER 5: BY BEING ACCOUNTABLE TO YOUR EMPLOYER
CHAPTER 6: BY FOLLOWING UP
CHAPTER 7: BY FOLLOWING THROUGH
CHAPTER 8: BY RESOLVING ALL “UNRESOLVED ISSUES”
CHAPTER 9: BY USING THE DELEGATION PROCESS
CHAPTER 10: BY USING “PREVENTIVE ACTIONS”
CHAPTER 11: BY CONDUCTING YOUR “INHERENT DUTIES”
CHAPTER 12: BY DELEGATING YOUR “ASSIGNED DUTIES”
CHAPTER 13: BY “ACCEPTING” NEW ASSIGNMENTS
CHAPTER 14: BY “NEGOTIATING” WITH YOUR EMPLOYER
CHAPTER 15: BY GIVING “SITUATION REPORTS”
CHAPTER 16: BY “CONDUCTING” ASSIGNMENTS
CHAPTER 17: BY “MAKING” ASSIGNMENTS TO OTHERS
CHAPTER 18: BY “NEGOTIATING” ASSIGNMENTS YOU MAKE
CHAPTER 19: BY GIVING AND RECEIVING BACKBRIEFINGS
CHAPTER 20: BY GIVING AND RECEIVING PROGRESS BRIEFINGS
CHAPTER 21: BY PROVIDING “ADVANCED WARNING”
CHAPTER 22: BY IDENTIFYING THE CAUSES OF FAILURE
CHAPTER 23: BY ASSESSING HOW WELL YOU DELEGATE
This is your chance to invest in your copy of this book – guaranteed to make you a more effective DELEGATOR tomorrow than you are today.
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Here’s what you’ll learn:
CHAPTER 1: BY BECOMING A BETTER FOLLOWER
CHAPTER 3: BY BECOMING A BETTER PLANNER
CHAPTER 4: BY BECOMING A BETTER ORGANIZER
CHAPTER 5: BY BECOMING A BETTER COMMUNICATOR
CHAPTER 6: BY BECOMING A BETTER PROBLEM SOLVER
CHAPTER 7: BY ENHANCING YOUR AWARENESS
CHAPTER 8: BY BECOMING A BETTER TRAINER
CHAPTER 9: BY ENHANCING YOUR ABILITY TO MOTIVATE
CHAPTER 10: BY ENHANCING YOUR CHARACTER
APPENDIX A: PLAN OF ACTION EXAMPLE
APPENDIX B: REAL WORLD PROBLEM SOLVING EXAMPLE
APPENDIX C: ADVANCE PROBLEM SOLVING WITH VUCA
APPENDIX D: CAREER ADVICE
APPENDIX E: CREATING MISSION AND VISION STATEMENTS
The Effectiveness Guide will be the best investment you’ll ever make in your career.
Also, if you feel this information could help someone else, please take a moment to let them know. If it turns out to make a difference in their life, they’ll be forever grateful to you – as will I.
Let’s make a difference together – one person at a time!
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