How do you feel about delegating work? What comes to mind? Feeling like you have to micro-manage a project to make sure it gets done right? Remember being the victim of your boss’ dump and run right before they left for a vacation?
Delegating work is tricky.
For it to go well, you have to combine the right amount of information with the right amount of authority. Both sides need to be on the same page the whole time. It isn’t easy. But you can set your team up for success by identifying your default style and motivations to make a strong plan.
Dump and Runners: Are you too busy to do the work so you want someone else to get it done? You probably think the who, what, where, when, why and how are obvious. Don’t assume this is true. Ignore how impatient you feel and do your future self a favor by explaining what needs to be done.
Micromanagers/Control Freaks: Are you sure that you are the only one who can do the task perfectly? You maybe right about it now, but it doesn’t need to stay this way. Start training your team so you won’t be a bottleneck forever. They might surprise you with how capable they already are.
See-Saw Managers: Do you throw work at your team, only to have to take it all back or spoon feed them directions when they fail to guess what you wanted? Save riding to the rescue for when they face unavoidable obstacles.
Surprisingly, the best way forward works for every style. Take the time early to explain what success looks like. Tell them why you know they can do it. Don’t forget to level set expectations about how frequently you want them to check in while they are working on the task.
Bonus points: If you think you already delegate pretty well, you can up your game by asking your team to hold you accountable. You will get invaluable feedback when they tell you if they feel dumped on and micromanaged.