In my own work as a leadership coach, I have recognized when leaders delegate successfully. It’s important for delegators to set aside their attachment to how things have been done in the past but reward novel approaches that work by doing the following:
• They describe the desired results in detail. This includes setting clear expectations about the outcome (“what it is”), how the task fits into the bigger picture (“why we’re doing it”), and criteria for measuring success (“what it should look like when done well”).
• They make sure that team members have the resources they need to do the job, whether it’s training, money, supplies, time, a private space, adjusted priorities, or help from others.
• They establish checkpoints, milestones, and junctures for feedback so that they neither micromanage nor under-lead.
• They encourage new, creative ways for team members to accomplish goals. They create a motivating environment. Successful delegators know when to cheerlead, coach, step in, step back, adjust expectations, make themselves available, and celebrate successes.
• They tolerate risks and mistakes and use them as learning opportunities, rather than as proof that they shouldn’t have delegated in the first place.
Delegating well helps leaders maximize their resources, ensuring that they’re focusing on their highest priorities, developing their team members, and creating a culture where delegation isn’t just expected. It creates time and energy for personal development.