To delegate doesn’t mean to abdicate. You are still on the hook for the results. Make sure that you can contain risks if need be and be wise about when and whom you empower.
Establish authorities for key decisions and key people
Knowing who should decide what, and when is a key task of a leader. Be thoughtful about your delegations because they can be disruptive, empowering, risky, or energizing. A lot of it has to do with the framework you establish and the understanding of the person being delegated to. A responsible step would be to make sure the person is not only capable to decide but also understands clearly what you are asking them to decide. Always ask them to repeat back to you the problem, solution and expected outcome to avoid surprises.
Review reports on all facets of your company so that the surprises are as few and far in between as possible
An ex-President once said ‘trust but verify”. That’s a key component of the delegation formula. Make sure you are getting the results you want, from the risk you are taking by checking to see if the decisions are showing up in the numbers. If so, reward. If not, reassess. Waiting doesn’t make things better.
Perform audits on a routine basis to double-check whatever you are reading or being told
It’s great to kick the tires but it’s better to do it systematically and independently. Audits are great for that. They can go where you can’t and help you see things more clearly. They are invasive to be sure, but politeness goes a long way in making people comfortable. Be thoughtful about when you use them because they can convey a lack of trust. But hey, don’t you want to know what is really going on? Audits can also help with accountability and ownership of issues. But never forget that you are dealing with people and therefore you must listen and talk. Make sure to reinforce ownership by having feedback sessions with individuals and teams on a routine basis. They all need to hear from you. If you can get this right, you can raise your company’s IQ points by the hundreds, have more satisfied employees and a better run company. Don’t try to do everything by yourself because there is plenty of help out there like this (link).
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