In trying to control everyone else’s work, they feel like they can never catch up. They’re stressed, and often pass along frustrations through unpleasant interactions with others…barking orders, never acknowledging accomplishments or contributions. They feel overworked and under appreciated.
Enter the coach! Really? Yes…coaching can be very effective in helping a person let go.
Dave was a senior manager who was lost in the weeds of detail and minutia. He jumped in to take on big and small tasks. He suffocated others with constant reminders and suggestion, only to compromise the quality of the work they had so seriously invested in. Dave had lost his proper focus on the big picture and the future. His micromanagement led his people to believe that he ultimately did not trust them to do their jobs properly.
An executive coaching engagement has helped Dave sort out his real responsibilities in the organization…to focus on what’s important, the future rather than the present, the work he should be doing in leading his group versus the work he can pass on to someone else. During his coaching engagement, Dave also discovered opportunities to develop his people by having them assume greater responsibility.
Becoming more skilled at delegation has given Dave more freedom, and has enabled him to develop himself as well. Let’s look at the process:
The big picture
What’s the whole view of the work to be done? What is our purpose? What are our objectives? What are the parts, and the steps to get to the finish line? What tasks can be farmed out to others, and what skills are essential to those tasks?
What must remain under my control, and why? Where are my strengths and weaknesses, and what can I delegate to someone more capable?
What resources—time, budget, people—are available to me? How are these resources currently allocated, and how could that be improved?
How are others—our reports, our team, our department, colleagues, our boss, our customers—affected by our purpose and objectives? What recommendations could they make for improvements? Who could be given more responsibility?
Once you’ve identified tasks to be delegated, you can define boundaries and success criteria, assign necessary resources and supervision, point out development opportunities and any potential problems.
Successful managers are successful delegators. They and their people realize many benefits beyond the work at hand, including:
- Greater engagement
- Cost and time efficiencies
- Individual and team development
Who wouldn’t give up something to gain so much in return? Just ask Dave!
What have you learned from your own delegating abilities?
If you found this post helpful, check out “About the Book” on this blog, and order yourself a copy of “What could happen if you do nothing?” A manager’s handbook for coaching conversations.