Q: I sometimes struggle with relinquishing control of certain business related tasks and am still a bit nervous about delegating full responsibility to my team. How can I tell if they possess the appropriate skill-set to complete the tasks I’m delegating to them?

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A: In our last newsletter, we looked at behavioral theory around delegation and discussed the first two steps to successfully delegating to your employees. It’s difficult to let go of the reins on a task or project all at once and to find the right employee to delegate to. Delegation Stages can mitigate risk. Once your employee has successfully completed Stage 1: Informing, and Stage 2: Reporting Progress, you can move them to the next two stages outlined below.

Stage 3: Reporting Results

Since you now know that the employee can 1) handle investigating and informing you on how they would complete a task; and 2) complete a task while keeping you in the loop about their progress through key milestones, it’s time to relinquish a bit more control. In the Reporting Results Stage of delegation, you will hand the task off to the employee and allow them to fully complete it before reporting back to you.

Taking the event example from our previous newsletter, in a Stage 3 delegation, your employee would both plan and execute the event without checking in with you. Of course, you should remain available as a resource to them should they need guidance or support—after all, this event is happening for your business.

The valuable learning for both parties is their ability to self-evaluate their own performance. When the event concludes, schedule some time with your team member:

  • Ask them to evaluate both their performance in completing the task and the results.
  • Discover if the event was a success, and if so, what criteria they used to make that judgement.
  • Discuss what they could have done better to make things run smoother or to achieve better results.
    Their answers will be very telling in determining whether they are ready to move on to the fourth and final Stage of delegation.

Stage 4: Owning the task

This is it, the final and most difficult Stage for recovering micromanagers: handing off total ownership. By the time you reach Stage 4 delegation with an employee, they have had plenty of time to prove their aptitude and ability in this task area. As difficult as it might be (or maybe not since you’re a pro at delegating by now), let the employee fully own the future task at hand. As with the other Stages, be available for questions or assistance as the need may arise, but don’t hover. They will likely report back to you once the task is complete, but this is no longer a required step at this Stage.

It is also important to remember where transferable skills come into play. If, for example, your employee has managed traffic-driving events through Stages one through three of delegation, they can take on similar tasks like planning an employee meeting. Where you want to be careful, however, is delegating a totally new type of task like building an employee schedule. You will likely want to start them at Stage one or two for this task since it is quite different than event planning.
Now that you’ve done it, pat yourself on the back and never feel nervous about delegating again!