Everyone appreciates a leader with high maturity, and the delegation process is no different. Delegating in a mature manner facilitates growth, connection and higher effectiveness. Low maturity delegation can quickly erode a team’s performance and engagement.
Every leader will need to learn to delegate effectively at some point. It’s a critical skill on the path to greater responsibility.
Here are several ways mature delegators stand out from the rest.
Assign the Right Tasks
A mature delegator’s first responsibility is to select the right tasks to delegate. The tasks should be critical to the success of the team (if not, the tasks shouldn’t be done at all), and allow the leader to maximize their contribution.
Select the Right People
Next the leader should select the right person to complete the tasks. The tasks in question should fit within their skillsets and role expectations. Tasks should also be distributed reasonably evenly across the team so the most reliable team members (or the ones who tend to say “yes” most often) don’t get stuck with the elephant’s share of extra work.
Utilize a Thoughtful Project Management Approach
Delegation shouldn’t come as a surprise, although many new leaders are reactively forced to delegate when they reach a breaking point. A mature delegator scopes out new projects ahead of time and plans for delegation opportunities so tasks don’t get dumped on anyone at the last minute.
The leader’s capacity isn’t the only delegation consideration. The capacity of the team members should be as well. Mature delegators don’t simply transfer capacity overload like a hot potato. They plan the work so that it fits within each person’s available bandwidth.
Set Clear Expectations
Effective delegation requires extra time upfront, which presents its own barrier when the leader is operating at maximum capacity. Mature delegators take time to set clear expectations for the scope, quality and duration of the work.
Provide Support Throughout the Process
This is the final aspect of delegation – and probably the most critical to its success. There is usually a learning curve when a new team member takes over a new task. Mature delegators take time to provide support, coaching and feedback, rather than disappear until the project’s end.
Delegation isn’t for the faint of heart – and the goal isn’t to replace yourself as the leader. It’s to refocus your efforts on the areas where you bring the most value to the organization while ensuring that critical tasks are still completed.
As you prepare to hand off your next tasks, consider which delegation practices can advance your maturity to the next level.
This article is included in the Leadership-in-a-Box® program:
Bring Leadership-in-a-Box® to your organization!