The last level of delegation (aptly named Delegate) is defined as:
You leave the decision to them and you don’t even want to know about details that would just clutter your brain.
Yes, that. Give someone a responsibility and then step away. Today I got the opportunity to talk with a manager that have a tendency to micromanage a lot and we came up with conversation template that I think was worthy remembering. I told her that she needed to delegate an area of responsibility to a manager of one of her departments. And I introduced her to the definition above. Because she’s really involved in almost everything that happens in the company right now. And a lot of the tasks depends on and wait for her.
She cringed when I told her what I wanted her to try. By doing everything, she controlled all the information to. That made her feel safe. Now I asked her to move the authority to the information, leaving decision power to someone else. That made her feel uncertain.
Side note here; I do this. Often. Especially with my kids. I am not better than anyone else on this, but this little revaluation came to me and I think it will help me.
At first that can look sloppy and maybe lazy but there’s a Jedi mind trick in there that is really powerful. And using it you can bootstrap yourself into not breaking the trust with the person you’re delegating to.
Here’s how I would approach someone with this, making the consequences of the delegation clear for both me and the person I talk to:
I want you to take responsibility over area X. I trust you to do this much better than me, so you don’t even need to report the progress or status back to me. I trust you.
For me it’s very important to use those exact words. By saying “I trust you”, twice, I make a deal with the person I talk to. And towards myself. If I later make sure that they do it as I would have done it, or ask about the progress (and ask them to go faster) or make sure they report the final state to me (so that I can sign it off as Good ™) – I break the trust. I fail them and I fail myself.
By saying “I trust you” I reinforce this for myself. And when I’m about to “go down there and check on them”, its easy to remember. Sometimes I say it out loud.
No Marcus – you trust them. Don’t go there. They are awesome.
This helps me. I hope you find it useful too.
Oh, get the Management 3.0 Workout book. It’s awesome and free.