Is This You?
Joe is the managing partner of private equity firm. He has tons of balls in the air at any one time. He is generally good at delegating projects and tasks. Yet when his stress level rises, he feels the urge to re-engage in projects he previously delegated and ends up frustrating his people. Joe is micro managing and getting overly involved with his subordinates’ projects.
Susanne is the Senior Vice President of Operations. She has a background in sales and enjoys nothing more than building relationships. Because of her position, she gets bombarded with requests for meetings and calls. By her own admission, she finds herself too often spending time with people who should be talking to her sales force instead of her. Susanne is engaged in tasks that be done effectively by someone at a lower level in the company.
Recognize yourself or one of your managers in the above behavior patterns? If so, read on!
Delegate More of The Right Stuff
Most leaders we talk to feel that they need to do a better job at delegating. Indeed, effectively delegating might arguably be THE hardest leadership competency to master. While the majority of leaders and managers need to delegate more, it’s not just a question of delegating as much as possible but delegating the right stuff. It might actually be that your people need you more and not less involved in certain areas.
Ask Your People
Our advice is simple. Sit down with each of your direct reports and ask them the following questions (credit to Marshall Goldsmith) about each of their areas of responsibility:
- Are there areas and projects where you believe that I am too hands-on and can let go more? Are there projects where I need to get more involved and provide you with more guidance?
During the course of this discussion you will inevitably find that you are micro managing in certain areas and that more delegation is needed there, while more of your involvement is asked for in other areas.
Then Ask Your Direct Reports:
- Do you ever see me working on tasks that someone at my level doesn’t need to do? Are there areas where I can help other people grow and develop, and give myself more time to focus on strategy and long-term planning?
I will virtually guarantee you that your direct reports will come up with great suggestions for you on things a person in your position should not be doing.
Ask yourself and your people these tough questions. The responses will most likely be eye opening and will save you time, energy and make you more effective. All the things good delegation is supposed to do!
Following our coaching philosophy we encourage you to commit to concrete action steps to your direct reports on how you will improve your delegation and then check in with them on a regular basis on how you are doing.
And remember the ‘D’ in LeaDership stands for Delegating!