Successful delegation begins with your mindset. It proceeds according to the degree of alignment with your values. It ends with however close you got to what you determined would define success.
As stated in this month’s earlier blogs, a manager or leader’s mindset determines their approach to delegation. It bears repeating – do you view employees or volunteers as a means of getting the work done or do you view the work as a means of developing the people doing it? There is an inherent tension in either one of these. You need both perspectives. The core question is…Which one do you prioritize most often during any project or process that involves delegation?
In crisis management, getting the work done quickly and correctly bumps task completion to the top. However, a people-first, task-second mindset ensures a leader can demonstrate respect of others and a bent toward growing them even during emergency response scenarios. This is communicated through tone of voice, non-verbal “beholding” of others, and providing adequate information as to what, how, and why something needs doing. This is difficult to do if you’ve never experienced it, but it is a learnable predisposition.
You can’t do anything with what you don’t have. But where does it say you can’t ask for help in getting it and learning how to use it?
“Mind the Pieces”
This is often misconstrued to mean, “Make sure everything is tightly controlled” (also a mindset thing). The more accurate meaning is, “To practice appropriate awareness of relevant factors, who is responsible for them and why, and what is expected.” It is not micromanaging to increase awareness for oneself or for those directly responsible. Air traffic controllers increase awareness but don’t fly the plane.
Complex projects, processes, and operations turn out best when delegated to a competent project, process, or operations manager. That such positions exist indicates the value of well-structured delegation. The person in such a position is officially charged with “minding the pieces.” Ironically, it gets confusing when a project, process, or operation is relatively simple; the “officiality” and thoroughness of the delegation process are often not as defined. In simple scenarios, we tend to rely on assumptions. Assumptions are short-cuts. Short-cuts tend to overlook details Overlooked details are out-of-mind pieces. When important things are out of mind for the wrong reasons, there is a disturbance in the collective peace of mind (anxiety in the system).
Peace of Mind
One motivating factor when it comes to delegation or the lack thereof is peace of mind. Some delegate poorly or not at all because their perceived peace of mind comes from believing they are the best ones to get it done in the right way. Others delegate well because they trust. They trust themselves to choose an appropriate delegate, to clarify expectations thoroughly, and to follow through in ways that support the process and outcomes without controlling the details along the way.
This frees their mind of matters someone else can attend. It eases their mind, knowing an already competent person is becoming more capable as a result. It enables their mind to focus more on matters for which only they are responsible. (Mental clutter kills concentration.)
It requires learning, leaning, and allowing. Each of those factors involves other people. One’s mindset determines how one “minds the pieces” and experiences peace of mind.
TurningWest – your guide to a healthy culture with meaningful results, is a mindful team of organization and leadership consultants that can help you learn and apply such skills.