Mastering the art of Delegation

Recently on the Drama Free Living podcast, our COO and Executive Coach Nancy Benavides joined us to discuss her years of experience mastering the art of delegation. Nancy’s career has spanned North America, including a stint as operations liaison for McDonald’s of Colombia–the country, that is. After her “corporate” career, Nancy shifted gears into what became a passion while moving into leadership roles–coaching. Her nonprofit, Activating Volunteers, formed a unique niche for helping nonprofit organizations utilize their unpaid workforce to maximize talents and output. She joined Leadership Development Group as an Executive Coach and COO in 2021 after participating in the Leadership Roundtable Program for many years. 

Nancy’s conversation on delegation focused on two key topics: how to delegate and the four different levels that typically exist in an organization.

The Art of Delegation: 

Delegation is vital to achieving your goals as a leader. We cannot be everywhere doing everything no matter how much we try! However, delegating well is an art. Your ability to delegate well is a direct reflection of your skills as a leader. 

Here are our top five tips to successful delegation: 

  1. When delegating a task, you must clearly explain the boundaries, parameters, and restrictions associated with the task. Context to the task is absolutely vital and every aspect must be crystal clear once the hand off is complete.
  2. Be sure to indicate what success looks like. What are the exact results you expect to see? In this step, be sure you allow them to take their own path to getting to the result. Directing every step of the process is dictating, not delegating.
  3. Ensure you are assigning delegated tasks that are well thought out. You are delegating, not dumping. This means ensuring you have plenty of time to discuss the task, versus assigning something on your way out the door, for example.
  4. Match delegated tasks with the right people on your team. This requires you knowing their key gifts and strengths, or trusting their direct supervisors to help you.
  5. Communicate the consequences if the task is not completed. Delegation without accountability is merely a wish. The consequences do not have to include a negative impact on the employee but the company or team as a whole. That way they do not fall into a victim mindset before the task has even begun.

The Four Levels of Delegation: 

When it comes to delegation, leaders need to determine the appropriate level of responsibility and authority we are giving our team members. Thankfully, there are four levels of delegation that clearly define exactly where most fall: 

Level One: Elementary Delegation

Level One includes your new hire or a lower level employee who will need clear direction and expectations to be successful. There must be a detailed onboarding process and follow up to prepare for the next task.

Level Two: Results-Based Delegation

These team members are given the final result of the task without the necessary steps to get there. They have freedom to choose the journey as long as the destination is what you predetermined together.

Level Three: Authority Focused Delegation

A Level Three team member is able to represent your authority on certain, clearly defined matters. As leaders, we cannot run our business 24/7 and this kind of delegation relieves some of the pressure for a limited number of circumstances.

Level Four: Full Authority and Responsibility Delegation

This team member enables a leader to go from a solopreneur to a true entrepreneur because they are trusted with full authority and responsibility. Level Four leaders are rare and require significant trust and communication. They also must be allowed to include their vision in the process. 

So, here is your challenge. Look at your team and determine which level matches your team members. Then determine if it is the right level–why or why not? 
Need help? Reach out to us and let us know how we can support you. Delegation can be a challenging task and we want to help you grow.

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