When it comes to delegation, you have to think of the other person before you hand off. Most of us do – in fact, it is fears that subordinates may be inadequate to the task that holds many managers from delegating. On his Next Level blog, consultant Scott Eblin presents a four-pronged model for delegating:
Handing off: With your most talented and motivated folks, talk about what the goal is, what is in or out of bounds, and then let them go, checking in occasionally as they touch the various bases.
Coaching: When people have the talent and skills but aren’t motivated, you have to coach them. They might be feeling stuck, or frustrated, or fear failure and you will have to nudge them through the process.
Telling: For subordinates who are eager but don’t have much experience with the task ahead, you must be more directive, with frequent check-ins and explicit instructions. (Yes, micromanagement.)
Selling: When people aren’t connected to the goal and don’t know how to contribute, you must sell why the task matters and teach how to accomplish the task. “For obvious reasons, it’s time and energy intensive. It should be applied sparingly and thoughtfully. If, as a leader, you find yourself spending all of your time here, it’s an indicator of bigger problems with your team,” he observes.