Delegation is an important skill for every level. Whether you’re delegating to your team or delegating to peers or on a project or product based team. With staff shortages and tight deadlines, you might be tempted to just roll up your sleeves and take on the work but in this episode, you’re going to learn how to delegate effectively so you can maintain a healthy workload and elevate your skills.
This topic is in 2 parts. The 1st part was released earlier in the month and focuses on delegation to peers or in a matrix environment. Today’s episode is for people managers, leaders, or aspiring managers to learn how to delegate to your team.
We are also talking about how to move from doer to delegator as a manager.
What You’ll Learn
How to delegate as a people manager
Transition from doer to delegator in 6 simple steps
Tips for managing the growth and development of your team
Featured in This Episode
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Welcome to Navigating Your Career, the only podcast that blends personal development, professional skills and psychology to help you get happy at work and live the life you want. If you want to stop feeling stuck and start are feeling better, this is the place for you. I’m your host, Melissa Lawrence. Let’s get started.
Hello and welcome to this week’s episode of Navigating Your Career. I am so glad that you were here with me today and last week was our 100th episode of the podcast. And if you didn’t catch the episode. Be sure to go back to it because I not only shared some really invaluable resources and tools that you can download as a gift for free from me to you for being a listener. To help you with everything from difficult conversations.
To influencing. To getting your voice heard at work. To even a podcast study guide. How to run your one on one. There were so many goodies that I shared all in one place for you to get access to.
So not only for that, but also I shared more of a behind the scenes into what it takes to put something like a podcast out into the world and to trust yourself and trust your voice so you don’t want to miss it. Now, this episode is the second part of a two part series on delegation. So a couple of weeks ago, I released episode one or part one of this delegation series where I shared how to delegate to peers or coworkers in a matrix environment. My clients often find themselves in situations where they take on more work, work outside of their responsibilities, often because of staff shortages or that they can do the job better or faster, but it leaves them drained and working 50, 60, 70 hours or more a week. So I provided you with a framework in that episode and exact steps that you can follow to delegate effectively.
And in today’s episode, I’m going to talk about how to delegate as a people manager. The steps are a little bit different because you have authority and you are also responsible for the development and growth of your team. You’re also responsible for ensuring that the team delivers on their milestones. It’s a little bit different than being a peer or working on a project together. So you can use part one regardless of your role.
People managers need to also delegate to their peers and in a matrix. But part two is going to be specific to those that have direct authority, as in at least one person reporting to them. And if you don’t have a team, I still suggest that you give this a listen because it will not only prepare you for if and when you do, but you’ll also hear my guidance for leaders. So if your leader isn’t doing this, if they aren’t following these steps and you’re frustrated or bored in your job, you don’t feel like you’re growing. This will give you a different perspective as well as give you the steps that you can take for yourself so you can start a conversation with your leader on these topics to get work that is more rewarding and help your manager help you.
So regardless of where you’re at, you’ll be able to take something away from this episode. All right, let’s dive in. I’m going to share six steps that you can follow to learn to delegate to your team effectively. You might be wanting to delegate as a leadership skill or because you find yourself in transition and you have to take that leap from doer to leader. Many of my clients go through this.
They’re used to being the high achieving Doer. That is what got them into that leadership role. But now they’re taking on too much. But when you have so many deadlines, it can seem really overwhelming to delegate and risk that work not being done well or not being done on time. So this episode is really going to help you get to your next level by learning to do this effectively without sacrificing those deadlines.
Okay, so first assess your team’s strengths and opportunities. This would be an opportunities I’m defining really as areas for development. It could be what you might call a weakness. It could be something that’s on their development plan that they have the opportunity to learn and grow in. It could be a cross training situation that would make sense for an opportunity.
So when I say opportunity, it includes all of those things. So you’re first going to assess your team’s strengths and opportunities. And when delegating tasks, you want to look at a few factors. What is each person’s strengths? What are they really good at, trained or qualified in?
What do they like to do? Because this isn’t always the same thing, and this is true for you too. There are things that you’re probably really good at that doesn’t mean that you really like it. Like I’m good at laundry. I don’t like laundry.
That can be true for a lot of things. Like I’m good at putting together slides, but I don’t always like to put together slides. So you want to look at what opportunities do the members of your team have for growth? What is good for their development plan and or their long term growth? What do they need to improve in?
It can even be helpful to put this information in a table in Excel so that you can track progress and get a good view of your team overall. It is also helpful so you can track cross training efforts. It’s always good to have more than one person trained or qualified for a given task just in case that person is out or leaves the company. One thing to keep in mind about this is that this is going to change. It’s going to be a living, breathing document or assessment.
If you don’t choose to put it in some sort of document. As your team grows, their strengths and opportunities will shift. Their interests will shift. So continue the dialogue with your team members. Which brings me to the next step, which is to discuss opportunities during one on one.
Once you identify what each team member strengths and opportunities are, validate it with the team member in your one on one. Ask them what they think their strengths are. What are their interests? Where do they see their career growing? What would they like to learn?
What is boring to them? What would they change? What would they like to do differently? This is really useful information and I highly suggest that you don’t skip this step. I see leaders sometimes skip it because they think they already know.
But then what happens? They end up coming to me, their employees saying they’re bored of their job and their manager doesn’t get them. So don’t assume. If you need some help structuring your one on one so that these conversations are more natural, I suggest you check out the podcast episode The Perfect One on One Framework because I teach you how to have one on one and how to proactively know this information about your team through a structured framework. There’s an outline of what the agenda should be for each meeting that you can download with that episode as well.
So I will include a link to that episode and the download in the show notes for you. Now, the next step is to identify training or transition needs based on the employee’s preferences. So once you are clear on the strengths and opportunities and what you want to delegate, identify the transition plan for this person to take on this new task. Do they need to be trained? Who will train them?
Do they have the bandwidth? Does anything need to be removed from their workload so that they can take on this new task? What communication needs need to be considered? Think through these questions and make a plan, because when you are moving in from like there’s something you want to get off of your plate, you’ve identified to the person based on their strengths and opportunities, then you’re going to make this transition to either train them or hand over this task. There’s a lot of information in your mind that may not be written down.
You have expectations for how this work is done that might not be clear to other people. And the people that you’re talking to are going to also have their own set of expectations and their own set of wants and needs and communication preferences for how they learn how to take on this task. So it’s important for the ultimate success of this transition that you have an open dialogue and that you are strategic in thinking through how this transition needs to happen. Next, you want to clarify expectations, just like in part one of how to delegate the episode from a couple of weeks ago. I also talked about this that you want to clarify expectations.
If you have specific timelines that you want to be adhered to, talk about it. If you want status updates, talk about it. If there are specific people that need to be informed along the way, be clear about that. I see so many people end up getting frustrated because they assume that the other person is going to operate in a way that they have expected them to but didn’t actually speak it. Whether that’s getting something by a certain date or whether it’s giving them updates along the way, they just assume because that’s what they would do, that their employee would do that, but that often isn’t the case.
Would be really clear about what your expectations are. When you’re delegating something you’ve been doing or know how to do to someone who hasn’t done it before at your specific company, don’t assume they know. And I hope you caught that nuance there of at your specific company. Even if someone has the specific skills or knowledge or background for that task, maybe they’ve done it at another company. Don’t assume that they know how to do it at the company that you’re at now that there might not be some sort of exception, a different SOP or something else that needs to be considered.
So share your expectations ahead of time and ask them what their expectations are too. Do they expect you to check in? Do they expect you to train them? As a side note, when setting expectations, I would also suggest leaving room for air. If you are, for example, delegating something that a client needs by October 1, don’t give your employee October 1 as the timeline.
Give September 15, for example. This will give you time for error, time to check in, to provide feedback, to fix mistakes and so on. The next step is to create milestones. So next you want to confirm what are those milestones that are involved in this task. So I have this called out separately because sometimes with expectations this gets skipped over.
So to be sure to talk about specifically what milestones there are, I want to call that out. I highly suggest having some early milestones before the project gets too involved so there isn’t wasted time if a mistake happens or if the same mistake isn’t repeated over and over in the project. Decide ahead of time what milestones you want to set so that you’re both clear. Next you want to ask what support is needed. So at this point, you’ve assessed your team strengths and opportunities.
You’ve had a oneonone, you’ve identified the transition or training plan, you’ve clarified expectations and set milestones. Now it’s time to ask your employee what support they need. And I suggest asking this question in a way that is openended because there is a difference between do you need any support and what support do you need? If you’re asked if you need something, it’s almost like a human default that we will say no. We don’t want to need anything.
We want to be seen as capable and confident. We don’t want to ask for help. We’re worried what people will think if we don’t know something. So if you say, do you need help? Do you need support?
People may say no when really they’re a little unsure. But when you ask what support is needed, it’s like assuming support is needed, it makes it more normal and comfortable to ask for. Like, it’s just reporting the weather, right? Like, what support do you need? What help can I give you?
Is there anything that you see getting in your way with this? If the employee says nothing, then you could just ask a follow up. Like, how confident do you feel about meeting this timeline? Or what do you think could get in the way? Continue to ask some questions that will get to any obstacles that might come up for them.
You could ask how involved they want to be in the task. If they want your oversight, would it be helpful for you to do a review before they get too far in the project to be sure that you’re on the right track? If you want to learn more about how to ask some of these questions and coach your employees in their development, head back to my episode on this coaching Skills for Managers. I’ll link to that in the show notes for you as well. All right, now the last step is to check in and provide feedback regularly.
Finally, you want to check in and provide feedback. Ask the employee how they like to be recognized so you can deliver positive feedback in a way that is meaningful to them. Remember, as you get feedback that your employee is learning and you are too, you’re delegating to them and maybe a new way. You’re maybe delegating for the first time or to them for the first time. So be patient and flexible.
This is a long game. You’re not only growing your own skills, but you’re growing your team skills too, as they take on more responsibilities. Be sure to update your spreadsheet if you have one of your team strengths and areas for growth or opportunities. And if you need some help with feedback, you guessed it. I have a podcast episode on that too, how to give and receive feedback.
So I will link to that episode as well. So there’s a lot of link backs to some other episodes because that is amazing that we are past 100 episodes of this show, and I’ve talked about so many different topics, and I still want this to be very bite sized for you. So this is on delegation. As a leader, I’m not digging into a lot of those topics around coaching or how to have your one on one, or how to give feedback and instead there’s a whole separate short episode that you can listen to that are just going to give you those steps so that you can do that effectively. Because the goal for this is that you just start one step at a time.
One step at a time. You make incremental change in your development, in your leadership skills, in your overall growth. I want this to be digestible and not to be too overwhelmed, where you’re just kind of binging and consuming all the information, but not actually making any changes in the way that you’re behaving. All right, my friends, that is all for this week. I am cheering you on.
Now, if you listen to this episode and thought you want to grow as a leader and invest in your own development, then I invite you to schedule a consultation call for one on one coaching. We will create a vision for what you want for your career and your growth and take the steps to make it happen more quickly and even easier than you think. So, to explore if coaching is a good fit, I’ll include the link to schedule a call with me. And until next week, keep going. You make such a big difference just by showing up.
All right, I will see you next week.
Coaching with me is the best way to guarantee you get happy at work and achieve your career and life goals. Getting started is easy. Head over to www.melissamlawrence.com to learn more and apply. It is the first step to get you from feeling stuck to knowing exactly what you want and have the tools to make it a reality. I will be by your side the entire way.