3 Key Steps to Successfully Delegate the Difficult

It’s not easy for you to delegate the difficult jobs to your people, especially if they don’t have your full trust in them. However, the difficult is what develops your people to grow faster and enables them to take on greater challenges and opportunities in the future. So, don’t avoid delegating the difficult…just focus on these three key steps to delegate it with more confidence and success.

Step 1 – Talk Potential with your People Before Delegating

If you delegate the difficult to your people, they can often feel that you are dumping something on them…that you are trying to make your job easier. Take a different approach and talk about your people’s potential before delegating the difficult to them. Talk first with your people about their potential and what experiences could help them grow their strengths further and develop stronger skills in their weaknesses. Then, when you delegate the difficult, you can share with your people how this difficult job can help them both grow faster and show others they are improving their weaknesses. With this approach, your people will want the difficult job to show you and others what they can do versus want to avoid it.

As your people climb higher, the difficult will often involve managing conflict with different personalities and across different organizations within the company. They need to look at managing conflict as an opportunity to both grow faster and to show management and others that they are ready for more responsibility.

The old saying goes “you will rise to the level of conflict you can handle”.

The difficult in business always involves managing conflict, so helping your people with the difficult is about helping them manage conflict more successfully.

Step 2 – Ask for the Milestones to Test Business Judgment

You often don’t delegate the difficult job to your people because you don’t think they can handle it. And, by handling it, you may not believe your people will make the right decisions along the way. That’s why this second step is necessary. When you delegate the difficult job, ask your people for the key milestones they need to achieve and the possible issues they will need to resolve along the way. Their answers to the milestones question will help you to know how well they understand the difficult job, and for you to feel if you can trust their business judgment to make the right decisions. Also, you get to understand how you need to lead them (and what level of support to provide) for them to be successful in delivering the difficult job. Your people’s answers to the milestones questions and possible issues will help you to know the leader you need to be in order to get the best performance from them.

Step 3 – Use the Milestones as your Coaching Moments

There’s an additional benefit for asking your people for the key milestones. You can then use those milestones as your checkpoints with your people to understand the status of the job. Also, these checkpoints provide the perfect opportunity to coach your people…helping them to see any issues in a broader context and to help them find their own solutions. In these coaching moments, it is good to use the NIFO approach (Nose In, Fingers Out). Putting your nose in by asking great open questions, and keeping your fingers out by not providing the easy answers. Also, when your people are not finding the answer on their own, you can share a few stories and examples that can provide your people clues to possible solutions to their issues. These coaching moments help your people to keep the right progress and direction, and help you to feel more comfortable that they will deliver the difficult job.

Remember the three key steps for the next time you need to delegate a difficult job.

Step 1  – Talk Potential with your People Before Delegating
Step 2 – Ask for the Milestones to Test Business Judgment
Step 3 – Use the Milestones as your Coaching Moments

Mark Fritz is an internationally recognized leadership speaker, mentor, and professor, and has spoken in more than 50 countries worldwide. He is the author of the new Daily Thoughts Collections (Volume 1), The Truth about Getting Things Done, and Lead & Influence: Get More Ownership, Commitment, and Achievement from Your Team.

Connect with Mark on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube.

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