Effective Delegation | Monica Thakrar | Skillshare

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Lessons in This Class

8 Lessons (35m)
    • 1. Intro & Objectives

    • 2. Overview

    • 3. What to Delegate

    • 4. Delegation Style

    • 5. Who to delegate to

    • 6. Four Step Delegation Model

    • 7. Delegation and Remote Teams

    • 8. Next Steps & Conclusion

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About This Class

Are you a new leader and struggling to learn how to delegate? Or are you a seasoned leader and still doing too much on your own? Come to this class and learn the four key skills of delegation - What to delegate, Who to Delegate to, How to Delegate, and When to Delegate.

Meet Your Teacher

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Monica Thakrar

Organizational Consultant and Coach


Hello, I'm Monica. I am an organizational consultant and coach based in Washington DC. I have 18 years of experience working with medium and large scale corporate and government clients leading large scale change, teaching leadership classes focused on soft skills such as  emotional intelligence, conflict resolution, presentation skills, and mindfulness. I also am an executive coach helping leaders gain skills and grow in their leadership journey.  I am most passionate about helping leaders and organizations grow into their fullest potential. Sample clients include Marriott, NASA, MedStar, National Science Foundation, and Columbia University.

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3. What to Delegate: So the first question that I have to address is what should I delegate? We're going to offer two different approaches to this question. First, a simple but useful method is to do an initial sorting of any and all projects and tasks that are on your to-do list into three categories. Column one is the keep column. These are the responsibilities, projects, and tasks that really are inherently yours. That by definition, you're the only one it should carry them out. This list includes responsibilities such as setting the direction for the organization and driving significant change, buffering your team from criticism or outside chaos. Handling confidential or highly sensitive information, making critical hiring decisions, conducting performance reviews for direct reports, and providing care and recognition for your people. There are some things you just shouldn't delegate. Column three, on the other hand, is the delegate immediately column. These are the things that clearly should be done by someone else. These probably include many administrative tasks and routine paperwork, perhaps research to investigate options or prepare recommendations, technical work that others are capable of doing, and projects or tasks that are clearly a developmental opportunity for the right person. Column two is the middle column, The consider delegating column. This is probably the largest category and should pretty much contain anything that's not clearly in column one or column three. Once you've done this initial sorting, you can then apply the rest of the strategies and tools will share throughout the rest of the course. A second approach to identifying what to delegate is to use Covey's four quadrant model for time management. When executives come to me for coaching on time management, when they're struggling with so many task and fires to be fighting. The first question I always ask them as, what else can you delegate? Usually, as we go through their tasks and items on their calendar, we look through meetings that can be passed down, special projects that can be pushed off, or daily tasks that need to be given to others. That the senior leader can then focus on. The fires are critical items showing up at that time. Delegation can be hard because for some it can take longer to train someone to do the work rather than just doing it themselves. It can be hard to delineate what items the senior person should be doing versus a deputy. When in some organizations they have both people in every meeting or conversation. As you become more senior in the organization, time becomes a critical asset for you as you're pulled into more and more directions. As a result, delegation becomes even more of a necessary tool. Delegation can help you build up and develop your team. And it's a way for you to streamline your daily tasks by deciding which should be given to staff members versus which are the more strategic elements that need to remain with you as a senior leader who's uniquely situated to do that work. Also at this level, it can be quite difficult to stay focused on strategic tasks and relationship building when senior leaders are pulled in so many different directions. A really useful model is Stephen Covey's Time management quadrant model. This one's framed along two axes, important and urgent. And the result is four distinct sections. The first is those things that are both important and urgent. These items are critical and you need to do these right away or figure out who to delegate them to immediately. The second quadrant is important, but not urgent. Because these are not urgent, we often put them aside. And yet these are the ones we need to protect and make more time for. These are the big picture strategic investments that'll help you with planning and relationship building. The third quadrant is the stuff that's not important, but it is urgent. These are interruptions or distractions that often suck up time because they seem to be urgent or they're urgent for someone else. But they're actually not important. Minimize your time here, delegate or avoid these items altogether wherever possible. And finally, the fourth quadrant is the stuff that's not important and not urgent. These are the time waster. It's just a waste of time. Limit your time here or eliminate these altogether if possible. When you're thinking of delegating tasks, think of quadrant 13 so that you can get the important and urgent and not important urgent tasks off your plate. As a senior leader, you really want to focus on quadrant, true? The important but not urgent aspects, because that's where the strategic planning relationship building, et cetera, tasks really come in as a senior leader. That's where you want to spend most of your time in the workbook on pages 7 and 8, choose either the three columns sort activity or the Covey Time Management Matrix activity. As he sorted through your responsibilities, tasks, and projects. Challenge yourself to identify as many as possible that you can delegate right away. Or at least consider delegating and then apply the strategies and the rest of the course to think through who you might delegate these two and how to carry out that delegation to maximize your likelihood of success. Considering all the responsibilities in those three columns and everything that comes to mind. If you look at the for time management quadrants, you're probably thinking there is too much here. My plate is full. In fact, it's so overloaded that there's stuff falling on the floor. I don't have time to delegate. Ironically, that's exactly the point. You've got to delegate in order to get some of this stuff off your plate. You don't get any more time. As you identify the specific projects and tasks that you can delegate, you'll be able to consider who you may be able to delegate them to and how you can go about it to set them up for success. 4. Delegation Style: So as you're considering what tasks or projects to delegate, we want you to pause and consider your delegation style. That is the combination of experiences and personality traits that shape how you view the tasks, people, and processes involved in effective delegation. There are many possibilities to consider here, but we're going to emphasize three factors that are particularly relevant to effective delegation. Your experience level, your detail orientation, your risk tolerance. Let's start with your level of experience. Are you a new team leader or a more senior experienced supervisor or executive? If you are a relatively new manager, you won't yet have the experience to draw on and it may feel risky or uncomfortable to shift into delegation mode. You have also been promoted because you have had a great deal of experience doing the work and getting rave reviews about it. Therefore, you may have the tendency to wanna take on more work than you should and just do it for others rather than spend the time teaching them or handing in work that is not up to your standards. It's very important, however, for you to build this capacity as a regular practice. Conversely, if you're a more experienced manager, hopefully you've had the positive experiences when it comes to delegation. But that may not be the case. If you've had no negative experiences with delegation, you may be hesitant to try it again. You'll have to step back and consider what went wrong and how you can try different strategies to increase your likelihood of success. Next, consider your personality traits related to detail orientation. Are you a very detail oriented individual who values precision and accuracy? Or are you more of a big picture thinker who would rather develop the vision and creative options for getting there. There's no right or wrong answer here, but it's critical to be honest with yourself and understand how your personality influences your perspective. If you're very detail-oriented, you might put a lot of emphasis on data accuracy and precision. You double and triple check your work and the thought of anything that has your name on it going out with an error gives you the Hebei GBs. In fact, you're uncomfortable right now, just hearing me say it. Dare I say you might be known as a perfectionist and that's a heads you wear with pride. The good news is that you set high standards in this regard for yourself, for others, and for the organization. But you may be hesitant to delegate because through your lens you see many tasks that sensitive and you see most others as not being careful enough when it comes to the details. Conversely, if I'm more of a big picture type, I might be more inclined to delegate a task, but perhaps I need to be more attentive to providing more complete direction, describing specific requirements and following through consistently to support success. Another key factor to consider is your tolerance for risk. If I naturally very risk averse than I may shy away from delegating because I view everything as risky and I can envision all kinds of possibilities for disaster. I may need to stretch my boundaries, step out of my comfort zone and take on a greater degree of risk in delegating. The good news is that you'll be more inclined to consider in mitigate the risks that are involved. Conversely, if I naturally risk-tolerant, that might make me more open to delegating, but perhaps I should be careful to calculate the risks involved and take steps to mitigate them. On page 11 in the workbook, click on the link to take the delegation style self-assessment. As you respond to the statements, Be honest with yourself that there's no right or wrong. The key is to do a candid self-assessment and strengthen your self-awareness so that you can make better choices with regards to what you can delegate and to whom. Then consider getting feedback from others to test your self assessment. And consider what steps you can take to apply this awareness to your leadership practices. The key here is awareness. We each have our own perspective and natural tendency, whether we know it or not. If you can be aware of your potential biases and inclinations, you can make intentional adjustments and expand your capacity for effective delegation. What can you start expanding into today? 5. Who to delegate to: Now it's time to consider the individuals to whom you might delegate various projects or tasks. In his situational leadership model, Ken Blanchard highlights two dimensions that are particularly relevant when it comes to delegation. The individual's level of competence and their level of commitment. Competence in this model encompasses not only someone's level of experience and expertise in a specific area, but it also includes their potential capacity to learn and develop a given skill set. And considering someone's level of commitment, you should take into account their sense of buy-in to the mission and their level of motivation and confidence. Both competence and commitment are critical in determining what tasks might be appropriate to delegate to whom and what leadership style to use in doing so. If someone's motivated but not yet fully competent with regard to the task at hand, you'll want to use a directing style, giving plenty of clear guidance and close oversight. This hands-on style is appropriate with individuals in this category because they don't yet have the expertise or experience to know what to do on their own. It's important to set specific realistic goals and clearly define what success looks like, including providing examples where possible. The point is this, it's still possible to delegate to these individuals, but you shouldn't give them tasks that involve much risk or complexity. And you'll need to invest some time and attention to set them up for success. But remember, it may well be worth the investment because you'll be helping them to develop their capacity in the long run. Note that this situation, someone who's motivated but not yet highly competent, also applies in an interesting way to team members who may have extensive experience overall in their careers, but are learning something new or trying something for the first time or moving into a new area where they don't have experience. They may be able to learn quickly, but you might want to use this directive style at first to help them get through that enthusiastic beginner stage. For those motivated individuals who have a greater degree of competence, you should shift to more of a coaching style. When it comes to delegation. These are the team members who still need some guidance. So you can't back off entirely, but you can and should involve them more in the thought process and ask for their ideas and input. You can give them increasing ownership and they may well have the ability to develop plans and proposals, but you'll still want to check in regularly, review their progress and make the final decisions. I often think of the example of teaching my daughter to drive in a high-risk situation with very little competence, it was appropriate for me to be very directive and mitigate the risk by beginning the process in a large, empty parking lot. As her competence and experienced increased, I gradually increase the level of risk by going out onto a quiet country road and began to involve her in the decision-making process. Okay. What do you see up ahead? A stop sign. Okay. What are we going to do? Stop. Excellent. So let's go ahead and do that. Now. I'm very happy to say that we survived and my daughter is now a highly competent driver. A very different situation is when you have a highly competent individual who's just not motivated or confident as you'd like them to be. The situation calls for what Blanchard terms of supporting leadership style. That is helping them figure out their own motivation or helping them find their own confidence. What they don't need as micro-managing on a task, explaining it to them again, or giving them another round of advice on how to do it. They know how to do it. That's not the problem. The problem is a lack of motivation or confidence, and that's an entirely different challenge for you as a leader. Ideally, you want to help them figure out what the resistance is and see if you can tap into their motivation. And this is something we've covered in our class on motivation. How can you support this person then? Well acknowledged their experience and expertise and support them back into realizing their capacity and what motivated them to want to do this work in the first case, as well as building up their confidence levels. And you can do this through involving them in identifying problems and setting goals, providing assurance support and resources, and facilitating ways for the employee to problem-solve and make decisions on their own. And finally, you come to the individual who has sufficient motivation and confidence as well as sufficient competence. This is the peak performer who has the drive to achieve organizational goals. Welcome to the green zone of delegation. Your job here as a leader is to give them what they need and get out of their way. You can do this through collaborating with the person to define the problem, set the goals, and then letting the employee develop an action plan, make decisions, and implement the solution in the workbook on page 14, consider where each of your team members may be with regard to their level of commitment and competence. As you see where they fall in the model, look at the corresponding leadership strategies from page 13 and consider how you might apply them to each individual tattoo on your specific ideas for applying strategies. On page 15. Remember, it's possible to delegate to nearly anyone as long as you use the right approach. And then don't forget to apply this model to yourself. What level of competence and commitment do you see in yourself and what delegation style would you find most helpful from your own supervisor, you can see how important it is to assess each individual thoughtfully with an awareness of your own potential biases. It's possible to delegate to almost anyone, but it's a matter of what to delegate to them and how to go about it so that you're setting them up for success. It's so important to be aware of an adjust your leadership style to the individual and the task at hand. If you use a highly directive style with someone who's competent and motivated, you'll come off as micro-managing. Conversely, if you use a hands off delegating style with someone who doesn't have the experience or motivation, you're setting them and yourself up for frustration and failure. When you consider each person's competence and potential as well as their commitment and motivation and adjust your approach accordingly. You might be able to delegate the right thing to them in the right way. It's not about being someone different. It's about being yourself with more skill. 6. Four Step Delegation Model: When we start to think about delegation and the tactics of it, we can start to break it down into four components of delegation. We covered already the first two steps, what to delegate and who should we delegate to? Now we'll look at the final two steps. The third step is how to delegate the task and provide support, including how much authority to delegate. And the fourth step is when to check in and monitor progress. If you have a virtual team or virtual team members, you'll also want to incorporate the tips provided by Mary Oldfield in the final module. Now let's talk about step 3. Once you know what you should delegate and who you want to delegate to, you can then focus on the how of delegating. You can assign the work using some of the following techniques. First describe the task, it's importance and why you selected this person. Set specific timelines and goals that match the individual's level of experience and ability and ask for their input, provide any support or background needed. Define the lines of authority, such as the other owns the task, but you still have the final decision-making authority or assigning the final authority to them as well. And finally, tailor your approach to meet their employees needs as you consider the complexity and risk of the project, it's important for the person to whom you are delegating to understand exactly what you want from them. And by when, by establishing good parameters around the work on the front end, you will then be more apt to get the caliber of task or project that you are looking for at the back-end, be sure to make an appropriate request so that there is clarity on what you're asking for from the other person. Remember, based upon the situational leadership model, determine where the person is on the model, and then use that style with them appropriately. Remember, direct, coach, support or delegate. Finally, the last step is monitoring progress. In this phase, you want to make sure to set suitable expectations for how often to check in on the work and provide feedback. With this step, you're going to want to remember to tailor the monitoring to the needs and abilities of each employee based on the complexity and risk of the task. Try to be mindful of your own biases and tendencies and come up with a monitoring plan that you both feel good about. If you feel you need to monitor more closely than the individual would like. Explain why this is the case and assure them that if this effort succeeds, you'll step back further in the future, come up with specific agreements regarding how often you want to be updated and about what? When do you want to be notified about challenges? And at what level do you want to know about every issue that comes up with an inexperienced team member in a risky situation, that might be the case. Or with a more experienced individual, you may only want to be brought in on more significant issues. On page 18, drafted delegation plan for one of your team members that you know, you can delegate certain things to be specific about what it is you want to delegate. Offer them your perspective on how you see their level of expertise in this area and level of commitment in this area. And then explain how you intend to carry out the delegation process with regard to the level of detail and the frequency of check-ins. Get their feedback, finalize the plan, and then put it into action. See how it goes. Learn from what works and what doesn't, and keep on going. Adopt the approach and develop a plan for each of your team members. Remember, you can delegate to nearly anyone as long as you adapt your style to their expertise and commitment to set them up for success, encouraged and affirm progress along the way, give them room to take reasonable risks and learn from mistakes and affirm achievements and growth. Remember, their success is your success. 7. Delegation and Remote Teams: Clearly, most, if not all of us, are experiencing the opportunities and challenges of working and partially or fully distributed virtual teams. Marie Oldfield is a CEO of quinoa coaching based in the UK. Murray has been working with are globally distributed team to support clients around the world in the public, private, and not-for-profit sectors. Murray has many years of experience and delegating effectively virtual team members. And he's going to share the fundamental principles and specific practices that work best when delegating and the virtual context. Hi everybody and welcome to this section of the course. So I'm going to be going over my experience with remote teams and what you can do to make sure that you have a successful remote team. So I've got a lot of experience in this area. I spent five years managing a global remote team of analysts. And these analysts were not specialists, they were technical and non-technical. And I've also been a huge teams in the UK government for program management and analysis. So to talk about the global pro Bono team, I set this team up from scratch. And this was actually really quite difficult because I had to put in all the organization, the administration, the organization charts, and it became a parent really, really quickly. What always missing when we're trying to get on and do some work. And I made some really silly mistakes in the beginning. But it's all a learning curve and it's how we improve when we hit these challenges. So I learned a lot from this and this is what I'm going to share with you today. So when I kind of go into a new team, I like to build relationships and trust. And I interact with my team members quite a lot. So in the beginning, I hold interviews if that's something that I can't do. And I arrange 12 ones because I like to really talk to my team and understand how they can develop what challenges they want, what they're good at, what they might not be so good at. And then I can allocate them to the word that would really, really suit them. And this can be particularly challenging for a remote team just because you aren't seeing them every day. You can't just walk over and talk to them. So it can be tempting to become a micro manager. And that is exactly the opposite. The more control that you tried to take over this team, the more they will run away from you. So don't be a micro-manager. What you can do though, instead of being a micromanager and this is proven to work. And I can guarantee this. Training policies, routines of meeting, documentation. If you can keep these things go in, you can get the policies together. Everybody knows what lemons do. Everybody's on the same page. You've got things like Google Drive to help you start documents. Everybody knows what's going on in each project. You have a routine of meetings. So one-to-one meetings, team meetings, then you're always keeping in touch with your team and your building that culture of safety and trust so that they can come to you with anything that they have a problem with. So when you have things like change from a both in my role, I had huge change for Ababa, had to implement some new policies. They were huge changes to the way that we operated. And the way that I manage to do this was by communicating with my team and know in my team. So being able to kind of have that discussion with them and be honest and say, well this is happening. But we have a chance to candy shape there so we can put feed back in and we can implement it in this way and then bring it in everybody to get their suggestions on how we implement it. Because as a leader, we're not always the person that knows everything. And so we want to use all of our team's capabilities and abilities to help us make these decisions in these choices. Because really one day we want our team members to take over from us. So we really want to have that collaborative working atmosphere. So another thing that I've done as well in the past is to use a signed PDF. So when I initially talked to them and go through the ways of working and the initial policies and then onboard them, give them the passwords are generally give them a PDF and say can you sign this and send this back to me so that you've shown that you wouldn't stand what it is that you'll be doing and what I need you to do. And this is quite important because sign-in that they've kind of said, I understand. And you know, that they've said that they know that they've said that it forms a little bit evidence spoken contract, which really, really helps. Well, I also did was buddy months also. I created training pods on what these did. We allocate some more experienced consultants, the new consultants, and they were all put into a little pod. Not only does this reduce the train and burden on yourself, but it's enables your really experienced members of staff to show what they can do and to learn new skills, which is what everybody wants to learn new skills, progress get promoted. And this really helps them do that. So some concrete tactics for what you can do with this. You can use things like project management software. You can use things like Trello. Trello is a really good package. You can move little post-it notes along to say, I need to do this. This is in progress. I've done this. You can say something like privacy my tricks where it has a progress tracker and you can store documents, say you can do the same with Asana. These are all really good project management systems, but you need to try them out and see what's right for you. The newest one is click OK. I've tried them all for some project teams. Trello really works because they that familiar with it, they understand it. Further progress Asana is better because it won't have increased functionality or functionality in a different area that the I need at that time. So I would suggest use the different packages and see what you think to them before you actually choose one because they can be very, very different in terms of functionality. One of the thing that I'd really suggest that you do with your team is pick issues at why you have to, but make sure that you compliments and Prize why you count. For a remote team, it's really important to know that they're doing a good job. You can't overprice them because team members initially take the feedback and they internalize it and thoughts, we all do this. It's human nature. It takes them a few signs that say kinda prize. And to understand the ins thing, actually, I'm doing a really, really good job. So compliment, make sure you do that. I can't emphasize this enough because this really, really does work to build the trust. And it means that the next time that you actually come up with a criticism or a problem that needs addressing are an issue. They know that it's coming from. The HA it's not coming from. I'm just criticizing you for the sake of it. And that's all I do because you actually give price as well and thus all about being a good leader. So document wise, I would suggest having policies, ways of work in, put the minutes together for the meats and send them out, ask for feedback, put the agendas together, do Doodle polls. That's really important for a team that spread around the world because everybody's in a different time zone. It means that you can have reasonable meeting times for everybody. Everything is documented and everybody's got time to read everything that you're talking about. So there's so many opportunities for them to important for you to get that experience and for them to feel like that collaborates in and contributes into the team as a whole. And it becomes a relationship of trust rather than a manager and an employee, a boss, and a worker, it becomes a collaboration of a team and nice, so strong and icon underestimate that. So I put some resources underneath for you to have a go at. And good luck with your leadership journey. There's a summary of Murray's points on page 19. Consider how you can apply her virtual delegation strategies as you work with remote team members. 8. Next Steps & Conclusion: Obviously we have touched quickly on the number of substantial points that merit further attention. In the workbook, there are several suggestions for going deeper on this topic of effective delegation. We would strongly recommend that you do some self assessment to gain awareness of your delegating style. There are a number of useful assessments out there, including the disc assessments and strengths finder. And perhaps you've already done the Myers-Briggs or the strengths Deployment Inventory. Consider using the situational leadership model to have a discussion with your team members as to what delegation style might work best for them with regard to a given task or project. Be open as to what style you intend to use and ask for their feedback as to where it's effective. They might ask for closer direction and certain areas. Or conversely, they might prefer greater freedom and autonomy. Take their feedback into account as you adjust your style. And finally, practice using the four-step delegation process by applying it to both small discrete tasks as well as larger, more significant projects. They are a lot of great resources on page 21 that dive more deeply into specific topic areas. We invite you to utilize these and share them with others. And on page 22, they are previews for courses on related topics. They can help you continue to expand your leadership capacity. As we stated at the outset, Delegation is not something that a leader does on top of your regular job. Effective delegation is a core part of your job. As you invest time and attention into expanding your capacity to delegate, you'll be expanding the capacity of individuals involved and thereby expanding the capacity of your whole team.