I have seen where dumping responsibilities on people is called delegation. This form of delegation does more harm than good for an organization.
It leaves projects undone or completed mediocre at best. It kills employee morale and motivation, and it keeps the mission of the organization from reaching its full potential. Healthy delegation achieves the opposite results.
Delegation involves more than ridding oneself of responsibility. Healthy delegation is an international, methodical and important part of leadership. Therefore, you can't "dump and run" and call it delegation.
In my book Mythical Leader, I share stories of delegation gone wrong with me as the leader. Likewise, this post originates from things I have learned the hard way.
Here are 5 necessary ingredients in healthy delegation:
1. Expectations fully set. A person receiving an assignment must know the goals and objectives you are trying to achieve.
— Why are we doing this?
— What are we trying to accomplish?
— What will a "win" look like?
Questions of this kind should be clearly answered.
2. Knowledge fully given. Proper training needs to be given before the person is held responsible to achieve full results. Of course, part of training could be doing the work the first time, but the delegator should remain available throughout the process. As questions or uncertainties of details arise, there should be an understood freedom to ask for help.
3. Resources fully provided. Healthy delegation provides adequate resources and money to accomplish the task assigned. Nothing is more frustrating than being asked to complete a project without the tools with which to do it.
If the goal is to be creative on a limited budget, solving the "how" should not be dumped solely on the delegate.
4. Accountability fully in place. Proper delegation involves follow up and evaluation of the delegated assignment.
— Did we achieve the objectives?
— What could we have done better?
— What did we learn from this process?
This process isn't meant to be threatening. Done well, it is healthy for the delegator, the person receiving delegation and the organization.
5. Appreciation fully acknowledged. Healthy delegation recognizes the accomplishment of the one who completed the task. Consequently, people are more likely to want more responsibility if they feel appreciated for the work they have done.
Delegation may be one of a leader's most effective methods of success. Leaders who are productive long-term continue to grow and develop as a delegator.
Listen to my son, Nate, and I discuss leadership issues on the Ron Edmondson Leadership Podcast. Subscribe now, so you won't miss the next one.
For the original article, visit ronedmondson.com.
Ron Edmondson, as a consultant and coach for almost 20 years, has helped thousands of leaders and organizations get better. He served as CEO of Leadership Network and as a pastor. He helped revitalize two churches and planted two churches. He also has a long history in business, government and nonprofit work.
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