The Art of Delegation

Ah, Delegating. That beautiful art of handing tasks to your teammates (and sometimes even peers or managers) to enable both you and them to grow in your skills and roles.

Particularly for success-seekers and overachievers, delegating represents a laborious effort. We psychologically attach to the responsibility and perceived power of keeping it all to ourselves, or we want to maintain control to ensure it’s done “just right.”  However, neither of these mindframes aligns with the growth you desire for yourself that you’ve laid out in strategic and tactical plans over the last few weeks.

You can’t get stuck in the weeds and reach for the stars at the same time. (Tweet this.)

You need to delegate. Delegating makes space for you to focus on the tasks you need to focus on, so that you can grow and be fulfilled while also cultivating your teammates’ growth and exploration.

Before we get started, let’s get clear on what delegating is NOT before we get into what it is and how you do it.

It’s not about concentrating the power at the top (you) and siphoning off the tasks you don’t want to do to the ones who report to you.

Instead, delegation is about understanding your strengths and gifts, your team’s strengths and gifts and the finite resources among you (time and talent). Using this data, you then allocate the appropriate time and talent to tasks to advance the whole team in a concerted manner.

Wondering how to do this delegation thing? Here we go!

  1. Considering the plans you’ve made for yourself over the last few weeks, make a list of the day-to-day and larger or longer-term tasks that you’re currently facing at work.
  2. Put a star next to the ones that align with the path towards the next role you’ve identified in your strategic career plans and/or tactical career plans over the past few weeks.
  3. Organize the remaining tasks into immediate, medium and longer term deadlines, then categorize each to denote level of complexity.
  4. As you get ready to delegate, be sure you balance complexity, immediacy, and experience. For instance, giving a bunch of tasks that are due immediately, yet are quite complicated to the newest member of your team is highly likely to be unsuccessful delegation. They’ll be overwhelmed and possibly fail. ensuring no one is successful, least of all you.
  5. Consider the bandwidth each team member currently has, as well as his or her level of expertise and opportunities for growth.
  6. Map each task to each team member. Once you get going, this mental framework will become intuitive and you’ll know instinctively who gets which task.
  7. Keep in mind responsibilities to keep to yourself, specifically those that are confidential, related to giving positive or negative feedback, and specifically assigned to you by your own management.

After you’ve identified which tasks and responsibilities to delegate and to whom, you’ll need to notify the recipients of their new responsibilities, your expectations on overall objective, and next steps.

As with any relationship or shared goal, effective communication is key, and preparation, openness and collaboration are critical! How to message the delegated tasks to your team and keep both of you accountable is a big part of how to do delegation well.

Here are a few best practices for talking your team through their new responsibilities:

  1. Set up 1:1 meetings with each team mate and let them know why you’re sharing these responsibilities with them, focusing on the WIIFM, the What’s In It For Me (me = teammate). Outline the benefits to them as part of the conversation; see item #2.
  2. Share with them the potential for growth that these tasks represent, as well as the importance of the tasks to the overall success of the team.
  3. Be very clear about your expectations. Describe the attributes or skills you want them to exhibit during the management of these tasks, the level of autonomy you deem acceptable (lots of questions, few questions, etc.) and your desired outcome.
  4. Encourage your team member to take notes to refer to after the meeting has concluded, and offer to meet again in a few days to discuss any questions that may arise before the full transition of the task/responsibility from you to her/him.
  5. Check in with each teammate regarding progress and success metrics during weekly or bi-monthly 1:1’s.

Although you are held responsible for the success of your team, and therefore, the success of the execution of this task, you are also the leader responsible for leading your team as effectively as you can. It’s up to you to enable their growth and lay the foundation for their success and well-being.

To walk the line between these, keep in mind that being available and engaged while letting your teammate handle the task in his or her own way is a springboard for both of you.

Give them room to breathe and make mistakes, and offer coaching when needed. In doing so, both of you will grow in a supported environment, and you will cultivate loyalty, trust and transparency within the ranks. A win-win!

We’d love to hear how you delegate and how you’ve thrived in the space you’ve created by doing so. If you have stories to share or questions, leave them in the comments below! As always, if you feel a colleague or friend could use this food for thought, share this post with them!

 

The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose with a Tactical Career Plan

A paved path, outlined with trees with text overland, "The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose with a Tactical Plan"

Throughout our The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose posts, we have been exploring how you can evolve your work life to be happier and more aligned with who you are. In this segment, we get tactical with career planning.

In these posts thus far, we worked through your inner workings and motivations using a creative exercise that helped you uncover what you need to be inspired and effective at work. Then, we set off to build the strategy that supports your the big picture. Now that you have a sense of who you are, we’ll dive deeper into where you want to go and how you’ll get there.

Grab your tactical gear and let’s get to it.

You have outlined where you’re heading. To translate your plan into action, take an inventory of the qualifications and experiences you have had and write them down.

Pull out old resumes for a memory jog or scan your LinkedIn profile. (If you don’t have one yet, get one!)

Tie your previous roles and responsibilities to your future gig by connecting the dots. Tell your value story. Even if you were “just an intern” or “just a secretary” or “are brand new to the field,” you have relevant experience that will lead to your success.

Focus on the business results you achieved – tangible and intangible. Did you drive sales? Or grow business? How did you reduce inefficiencies or improve culture?

You have brought very valuable skills to your current and previous organizations. Make a list of them, and if needed, update your resume.

By presenting the business case of your soft skills along with the quantifiable results you could offer – or have offered – to an organization, you are adding power to your presence. You will differentiate yourself as the strong performer that you are!

What’s next?

Next time, we’ll talk about how to create more time and space in your day to focus on the activities and items that will help you carve out the path you’re on. Who doesn’t love tips for getting more out of your day? We’ll see you there!

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little direction, share this post. We’re stronger together.

 

The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose through Strategic Career Mapping

A paved path with text overlaid, "The Job Front | Finding a path to Your Purpose with Strategic Career Mapping

In our The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose post, we have been exploring how you can evolve your work life to be happier and more aligned with who you are. Building on our last post, in which we worked through your inner workings and motivations using a creative exercise that helped you uncover what you need to be inspired and effective at work, we will take a more tangible, strategic approach to mapping your next steps.

Let’s get strategic.

Go online and pull together an idea of the jobs, titles, career paths, etc. that can take you from where you are to where you want to be.

For example, right now, you’re a copywriter, but you want to be a financial advisor. Or perhaps you are an entry-level project manager at an advertising agency, and you’re dying to be a Product Manager at Facebook. How will you get there?

Do the research to form an opinion of what possible career sequences could look like for you.

Make a list of possible stepping stones that will connect your current job to the ideal job, then break it down further into in-between roles that will get you there.

Include job descriptions, responsibilities you could hold, additional credentials or training you need/want, key networks or relationships to foster to get there (we’ll get to this part later), earning potential of each, etc.

Use the below chart for help.

A simple, effective charting tool to map your career path. Includes categorization of responsibilities, qualifications and other considerations as a way to get from your current role to the ideal position.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Career Mapping Chart

By using this career mapping tool, you’re building onto the new familiarity with your goals to outline the competitive landscape. You’re now armed with information.

You’re on your way!

The arsenal of insights & information you have gathered this week has not only helped you craft a plan, but also offered you a confidence boost as you reviewed all of that you have accomplished and how relevant your rich and varied experiences are to any role on the horizon.

What’s next?

Next time, we’ll lay the tactical plans to bring your strategy to life! Rather than identifying the gaps, you’ll recognize the experiences and expertise you have had that bring even more value to your next gig – whatever that may be!

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little direction, share this post. We’re stronger together.

 

The Job Front | Finding a Path to Your Purpose through Self-Awareness

A paved path lies ahead through trees

If your work life has lost its luster, know that you are not alone, my friend.

Regrouping when something isn’t working is part of the evolution of You, and more so than ever, we are awakening to the call to do something that matters to us. In the professional arena, specifically, more and more individuals are daring to change jobs or career paths when it just doesn’t “do it” for them anymore. Did you know that people hold between ten and fifteen jobs during their career with many holding four jobs before turning 32? (Read more here and here.)

Whether a long-time coming or an abrupt moment of clarity, there’s no better time than now to get going!

Over the course of the next few weeks, we will navigate important questions and thinking patterns to set the course for a satisfying career path.

We’ll discuss some of the expected questions you’re asking yourself through unexpected lenses, we’ll build your brand, and explore your values, motivations and goals to give form to your future. Sound good? Let’s get going!

First step, know thyself.

You need to get clear on who you are and what you want because it’s a heckuva lot easier to get where you want to go when you know what it looks like.

We’re going to get the ideas flowing through a creative exercise, and it is one of my favorites! I get out the sharpies and a thick piece of paper and just go nuts on whatever I’m wanting to work through, define, describe, create, solve… you get the picture.
For best results, put your computer away for the first part. A connection between mind, heart and body is activated with the activity of writing, and as you’ll see, that’s key!

Be as pragmatic or as emotionally-focused as you’d like. (Mine usually have been a blend of both… along with some whimsical doodles 🙂 )
Important: include any factors that fuel your inspiration or activates your intrinsic desire to push on (i.e. motivation).

After you get it all down, you’ll post it somewhere in your home where you’ll see it.

Here are a few thought-starters to get you going:

    1. The values that are important to you
      These could be values you want embodied by an organization, infused in your work or empowered by your paycheck, i.e. because of your paycheck, you’re able to donate more money to an organization you like, or have opportunities to speak to large groups about a cause that’s important to you, or pay for your yoga certification. Money isn’t dirty, and it’s ok to want it!
      Financial stability gives us options, and options give us freedom. When we use money strategically and in alignment with our values, we can affect great change in our lives and our community.

    2. What you want to be doing at a high-level and day-to-day

    3. The level of impact you want to have in your organization, your community, even on any direct reports
      Consider how you want to feel, how you want them to feel as a result of working with you, how it might look, etc.
    4. How you want to feel in the office and with the people who work there
      Words like “collaborative and supportive”, “autonomous and independent contribution” or “fast-paced” vs. “traditional” are descriptors to consider as you get clear the look and feel of it

Once you’re satisfied that you’ve captured it on the page, post it in your home in a location where you’ll see it regularly. Prime real estate? The front of the fridge!

Remember that, even after you’re done, you may get inklings of other words or phrases you want to include. If so, add them in! It will evolve as you do!

What’s next?

In our next segment, we’ll craft the strategy that will take you from your current role to that Ideal Job. We’ll build on the intrinsic motivations and must-have’s you’ve already named with deeper insights and an actionable plan.

As always, we love to hear your thoughts, your best practices, your tips, tricks and techniques – and so does our community! So please share them below, and if someone in your tribe, network, company needs a little direction, share this post. We’re stronger together.