We all know that delegation and empowerment are critical to growth and employee engagement. But doing it well is another matter. Here are tips from very successful business owners and experts.
Pay particular attention to how certain themes keep coming up in these tips.
“Successful leaders focus on doing the critical things only they can do and delegating the rest. That said, they must also understand the skills and motivation of the folks to whom they are delegating and adjust accordingly. Empowerment is not turning over the keys to a first time driver and saying ‘go win the Indi 500!’ Empowerment is about creating the opportunity for safe fails and progressively challenging wins.”
Founder & CEO/Renegade, LLC
“Here are some tips that I have learned over the years:
- Ensure every call or meeting has a purpose, strategy, and agenda in advance, as well as next steps with clear timing, deliverables and owners, to follow.
- Manage for the present, but carve out an hour or two a day to focus on the global strategy of business and if the implementation plan or resources (namely, staff) needs to pivot.
- Decide who is the greatest value add for each function. No one is expected to be a subject matter expert in every subject. So it is better to delegate to and empower others who have greater knowledge or expertise.”
“Depending on the task, I will look for the person who’s strength aligns in that particular area. Not everyone is good at everything and it is important to identify that early on with employees. In addition too that I require three things to make sure a task is competed and done well. Those things are follow up, follow up and follow up. Once the individual sees for themselves that the mission has been completed, I then ask them to circle back with me and let me know so I am in the loop.”
Jonathan B. Kramer
President / CEO Progressive Payments
“Delegation: In general, I recommend delegating responsibilities not tasks. It’s important to let the other person figure out how to do what you made them responsible for.
Empowerment: Create vision, mission, and values that really engage people. If they are written without the intent of action, they are useless. Empower team members to explore what’s possible for them by expressing the vision, mission, and values as a contribution. People are always empowered when they contribute.”
CEO | Criteria for Success
“After explaining what needs to be done, why it is important, how it fits into the greater goal or vision and deadline, I ask the person being empowered to reflect back what he/she just heard. This ensures that the same message was received as was delivered. I then ask: are you able to do this? Please think about how you will fit this into your other activities and get back to me by (give a time) with your agreement or need to decline.”
Jeannette Hobson, CMC
Master Chair and Group Facilitator
“When building a business you need to delegate to your trusted subordinates. If you don’t trust them, you shouldn’t have hired them in the first place.
Hire and delegate or fire them and do all the work yourself.”
Board Director/Blue Planet-works, Inc
“DON’T TELL, ASK!
Hey Boss, Stop telling them what to do
Ask them ‘what do you think?’
This encourages people who report to you to think for themselves. And it frees you up for biz development and other priorities.”
“Empowerment starts with inclusion: the feeling that your voice is heard and valuable on the team. Create staff meeting agendas with questions and space, not stuffed with messages and updates. After each question (‘What’s our biggest challenge right now? Or what did we learn this month?’) Give everyone a moment to think, and then equal time to weigh in on each question. Team magic.”
“Best practice tip on delegation and empowerment:
- To delegate effectively, you have to know and trust that the person to whom you’re delegating can do the job well. So, it’s critical to take your time to hire the right person, someone not only with the right skillset, but primarily with the right attitude, energy level, and curiosity to get the job done.
- Once you’ve done that, delegate the tasks you need done and don’t micromanage. If you’ve hired the right person, they’ll know they’re competent and will not take kindly to having their every move second-guessed.
- Finally, give them room to fail. Even if you’ve hired the right person, empowered them to do the tasks required without you micromanaging them, and given them latitude to do the tasks as they see fit, they might still fail. That’s OK: only by failing, learning from that failure, and trying again (with your full support) will that person truly know they are empowered by you to do their job.”
Managing Partner/Terran Holding Company, LLC.
“Delegating correctly is about gathering all the information and handing off to someone that you trust and can handle that task. If it’s any task that you have to do more than once those are the best types of tasks to delegate. Empowering people to make decisions is about having a conversation with the person and making it clear that they have the authority to make decisions. It might be easier to do it yourself but once you give it away properly to the right person, your mind and emotional energy will be free to keep doing what is most important. Remember that if you do not have an admin, you are an admin.”
When you’re delegating, remember 3 things:
1) Don’t just delegate the task, explain the context
2) Agree on what “done” looks like
3) Set up a mid-point check in to make sure everything is as expected and make course corrections if needed.”
Alisa Cohn, Executive Coach
“Before thinking about inspiring others to do their best, let’s understand the number 1 thing leaders do that limit their team members: micro-managing others. Micro-managing doesn’t only mean literally controlling all parts of someone else’s process; every time the leader combines what they want with how they want it done, they are micromanaging.
Even well meaning leaders, who are trying to spare others the pain of ‘making the same mistakes that I made,’ make of mistake micromanagement when they give instructions. Leaders suck all of the ownership and enthusiasm out of the other person’s project when they do that. When people end up doing things their own way, they own their way, they are invested in their way and they are betting on themselves. When we do projects the way others want, we are doing someone else’s project. We don’t own the process and now, we don’t own the results either. Don’t delegate assignments. Instead, delegate who owns the success of the mission.”
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