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How to delegate as a leader...

"Don't be a bottleneck. If a matter is not a decision for the President or you, delegate it."  -Donald Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense

How can we safely delegate decisions? Surely there is a massive risk if we ‘let go’ close our eyes and just see what happens? Isn’t it safe to stick to task delegation?

 It is easy to delegate tasks. All you need is an instruction sheet. The more complex the task, the longer the sheet.

 It is much tougher to delegate decisions.

 A great manager gets their people making decisions. Not only that but making great decisions. When we can do that, we have made the holy grail of management. We can duplicate our own skills in others leaving us free to move onto greater things. The main reason for lack of promotion is commonly described as “can’t do without”. It’s no good being needed, if we are needed, we can’t move on. Delegating tasks keeps us needed. Delegating decisions gives us freedom.

Delegate small

Delegation creates opportunities for others,  don't hog the limelight!


How to Delegate #LikeABoss

We often forget in the frenzy of work that a decision is made up of several steps. At least it should be. Reactive and instant decisions should be a thing of the past, and we should be focusing on rational decisions which carefully consider all relevant factors. To be rational in nature, a business decision should go through several steps:

  1. It should esquire about the facts of the current situation
  2. It should offer alternative courses of action
  3. It should make a recommendation from the alternatives with a clear rationale
  4. It should identify the risk of the recommendation and manage that risk
  5. It should have a short- term plan for immediate actions and along term overview plan for the big picture.
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Mark Miller is MD of Goodfoot, and author of 'Hamsters Can't Dance",  a tongue in cheek look at management challenges.


Some of the people who work in your teams are good at some of the steps above. I bet my bottom dollar thought that none are good at all. Which is why delegating decisions is difficult.

So, to get teams and individuals up to speed with how to make sound decisions, work them through the steps. Get them to submit their thoughts at each stage before you say ‘yep, go for it’. Only when they show you that they can work through all the steps can you then let go and let them get on with it. They can prove this to you by email, presentation, or verbally. On proving they can conduct all the steps, you have enabled others  and you are well on the way to freeing yourself for your next role.

 For further delegation tips we all need to know... click the link below!

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