I have a high sense of excellence both in the job and in ministry. I have a high expectation for things to be done right. It's just how I'm wired. So, sometimes, it can be difficult to try to work with others who seem "okay with okay." This can make it a challenge to delegate work. I have learned a few strategies to set the environment (in my company and ministry) for building a firm foundation for delegation. I have learned to let go, to be confident that I have chosen the right people for the job, and to trust the process of delegation and collaboration.
Here are six keys to laying the groundwork for delegation.
1. No one is going to do it just like you: Trust that even though it might look a little different than what was in your head, it doesn't mean it's wrong. I find that, most of the time, my team brings a fresh perspective that can even be improved upon, and the result ends up being better than if I did it myself.
2. Give clear directions and feedback: Clear feedback is important. I try my hardest to respond quickly to questions out of respect for others' time. Also, watch HOW you give feedback. Don't expect your team to read your mind. Communicate well and avoid all temptation to change the work yourself. Give feedback so they begin to learn what you want and what you don't want.
3. Empower your people to make decisions: When a question comes your way, sometimes the best response is, "What do YOU think?" Often, you'll get several solutions. If they all sound good, then trust your team members to pick the right one and run with it. You may have to coach them a little to tweak their solutions but either way, once they have presented you with good options, allow them to take ownership. This builds trust and confidence in the work relationship.
4. Respond well. Mistakes will happen: If anything goes awry, remember that it's not the end of the world. Everyone makes mistakes and your team members are probably harder on themselves than you ever can be. Trust me, there will be mistakes. Your response is most important because your team will remember how you responded, and it will set precedents for future conversations. If you responded well the first time, they will feel safe to bring you issues in the future. I try to take the blame for anything that happens on my team that may have gone south. It is my responsibility to lead and coach others.
5. Don't assume: Sometimes I have last minute projects that pop up and I just knock them out myself because I don't want MY emergency to become THEIR emergency. One of my contractors called me out on this and said, "Well, it's worth asking." Guess what? That changed my perspective. Now, I ask and make sure I at least give an opportunity for them to say no to last-minute projects. Most of the time, they can do it, and it saves me time.
6. Do what only you can do: Look at your list of things to do. Keep ONLY what you can do. Give the rest away.
Giving your contractors, volunteers or employees the permission to collaborate builds confidence in their jobs and in your relationship. Ask questions to pull the answers out of them; then it's their idea, which creates buy-in. You'll be surprised what you learn and you will probably go farther faster. Be interested and let your team members know that they have a voice so they know they are valued, trusted and safe. Delegation becomes easy once you set the stage.
What is the biggest takeaway about delegation?