How to Delegate (part 2)

In this three-part series, I’m outlining three ingredients to effective delegation. The first ingredient is Priority Assessment. Priority Assessment is the process of identifying your highest priorities using the sweet spot of three intersecting circles: Job requirements, personal strengths, and investment return. Delegation doesn’t start by giving away responsibility–it starts by understanding which responsibilities you can’t give away.

The second ingredient to effective delegation is Team Empowerment. Team empowerment involves a five-step process as it relates to delegation. Each step includes a question:

1. Assessment: Which responsibilities and opportunities should I delegate to others?

  • Anything that somebody can do 70-80% as well as me
  • Everything outside my core strengths and passions
  • Everything I enjoy doing but provides a poor return for my investment of time
  • Everything that a leader at my level should not be doing
  • Everything that a leader serving in the same role as me in an organization 20% bigger than mine is not doing

2. Assignment: Who should I delegate these responsibilities and opportunities to?

  • Paid staff – Your assistant and team members
  • Interns – College students/interns serving with your church or organization
  • Volunteers – This is particularly relevant in non-profits
  • Vendors – Sometimes the best way to delegate is by hiring an outside vendor or service

3. Authority: What authority do I need to release so that team members will excel?

  • Project Authority – This is the opportunity to “do” a project or task and includes the authority to make decisions about the execution of the project.
  • People Authority – This is the opportunity to lead people combined with the authority to make decisions about how best to lead others.

4. Accountability: What questions do I need to ask my team to hold them accountable for their responsibilities?

5. Affirmation: How can I best support and encourage my team members?

Captain Michael Abrashoff noted, “If all you give are orders, then all you will get are order takers.” Empowerment is about much more than telling people what to do. It’s giving them clear responsibilities and opportunities, the authority to make decisions, holding them accountable for their decisions, and affirming their efforts.

Questions: What responsibilities do you need to delegate? Who can you delegate them to? What authority do you need to provide?