When I compare notes with my customers – either IT executives or Line of Business executives, I realize that running a department in a large organization has its similarities with running a small organization. One of those key areas is delegation.

Most of us start off our careers as specialists and individual contributors and grow into managerial capacities. One of the most demanding skills in a management capacity is delegation. The reason why it is so difficult is that it is often easier and faster to get a piece of work done by yourself than to delegate it. I’ve struggled with delegation often. I am a high energy, high perspective type person. I come into a situation and often come across forcefully with my ideas. In earlier days when I delegated, I often got the load back on me viz. reverse delegation because I would not give the necessary freedom for the delegatee to perform.

I found this video on delegation by MTD Tips very useful in honing in on the type of delegation that is appropriate for different situations. In essence, they talk of 7 different styles:

  1. Wait to be told, or do exactly as I say. I call it the “Gofer” delegation (Stephen Covey uses the term in his book 7 habits of highly effective people)
  2. Look into this and tell me what you come up with. I’ll decide. I call this the “Investigation” delegation
  3. Give me your recommendation, and other options with the pros and cons of each. I’ll let you know whether you can go ahead. “Recommendation” Style
  4. Decide and let me know your decision, but wait for my go ahead.
  5. Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to.
  6. Decide and take action and let me know what you did
  7. Decide and take action. You need not check back with me.

I have a matrix, that I often keep in front of me when I try to see which type of delegation I should use for a particular reportee (and for a specific task). This matrix has helped me and hopefully you might find it useful too.

How do you delegate daily tasks to your subordinates? Do you follow any processes ? Give your feedback in the comments section 🙂