The POWER of Delegating


There is an unhealthy tree in my yard that I have been babying for the last two years. It finally bit the dust this spring. I decided to purchase a chainsaw and put it down myself. Off I went to my local home improvement store and back home to begin reading the instructions for my new equipment. Lots of cautions—“be totally covered”, “wear steel-toe shoes”—what had I gotten myself into? I filled it with oil and gas then tried to start it, but it wouldn’t even let out a putter! Way too much power for me! Into the store I went with this monster, and when the associate asked what was wrong with it, I replied “the user.” She smiled. Luckily, she allowed me to return it.

How does this relate to you as a coach? Delegation. You have to know when it is time to let someone else help you. Delegation is a great time-management tool. Another benefit of delegation is cross-training, which will increase results through specialization. What you will see is increased teamwork as others become capable of completing tasks. Delegation can also have an impact on the motivation of the team. Their skill levels increase, there is less frustration, and motivation increases.

You have to make delegation emotion-free. This means you have to let go of the control. That can be a big obstacle for many of us.

Let me offer you some tips for delegation.

  1. Pre-delegation Analysis
    • What will you delegate and why?
    • To whom (individual or team)?
    • When?
    • Duration of the delegation? (Permanent or time-limited as a “favor”?)
  1. Delegation
    • Clarify expectations
      • Provide specific instructions
    • Motivate with positive reinforcement
    • Train and coach
      • Share Proven Best Practices
      • Retrain when necessary
  1. Post-delegation Follow-up
    • Track results
    • Inspect what you expect
    • Build in sufficient lead time to check on progress

However, as we say at Cohen Brown, you can “delegate, but never abdicate.”

Let me know your thoughts.

Cynthia Whitmer Griffith is a Performance Results Network Results Consultant for Community Banks and Credit Unions at Cohen Brown Management Group, Inc.

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