Elements of Delegation

NavyBuyer

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#1
When it comes to delegating work, are you reactive or proactive in the end result? Do you simply just tell your subordinates that you are delegating work to them? What if you are the person receiving the additional task? How do you proceeded?

I'll let the mob answer and then give what I think are seven good elements to delegation.
 
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#2
Proactive. I prioritize things that need to be done. Then I look at what I think are the different people's strengths I work with including my own. Things normally flow by that system naturally to others. I won't go into how lower priority events or items can be used as learning tools etc, that seems redundant by the point of someone being able to delegate.

If I am told there is something that I need to do from our CEO then I just start listening. He will lay out what the goals are, where he sees our risk, and what his concerns are. Normally, he will start to talk about how or what he has done in the past on something that relates to the issue at hand. Then he asks me what I think. After I am done discussing my thoughts, I normally get told to go do whatever it is I am to do. There isn't really any structure, just get it done. After that is done, we will normally discuss what went well, and what could have been done better or differently. Then on to the next one.
 

Topkick

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#3
Proactive. I always try to give people the space and tools to do their job. They will enjoy the task and take more pride in their own work. However, I learned as a Sr NCO to trust but verify...check and recheck.
 

Devildoc

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#4
If my subordinates know their job, I am proactive. If I am the receiver, just give me the task to be done and let me figure out how to do it. If I have questions, I will ask. I am a big believer of "commander's intent", and that goes both ways. But as @Topkick says, the buck and accountability stops with me, so regular check-ins are a must.
 
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NavyBuyer

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#7
Proactive. I prioritize things that need to be done. Then I look at what I think are the different people's strengths I work with including my own. Things normally flow by that system naturally to others. I won't go into how lower priority events or items can be used as learning tools etc, that seems redundant by the point of someone being able to delegate.

If I am told there is something that I need to do from our CEO then I just start listening. He will lay out what the goals are, where he sees our risk, and what his concerns are. Normally, he will start to talk about how or what he has done in the past on something that relates to the issue at hand. Then he asks me what I think. After I am done discussing my thoughts, I normally get told to go do whatever it is I am to do. There isn't really any structure, just get it done. After that is done, we will normally discuss what went well, and what could have been done better or differently. Then on to the next one.
So what do you tell your team? Or do you just divy out tasks?

What happens if you don't do it the way your CEO was expecting you to do it?

Proactive. I always try to give people the space and tools to do their job. They will enjoy the task and take more pride in their own work. However, I learned as a Sr NCO to trust but verify...check and recheck.
Without guidelines how highup would you let your Soldiers take a problem? If you give them free reign are you expecting them to come to you before they work it up higher?

If my subordinates know their job, I am proactive. If I am the receiver, just give me the task to be done and let me figure out how to do it. If I have questions, I will ask. I am a big believer of "commander's intent", and that goes both ways. But as @Topkick says, the buck and accountability stops with me, so regular check-ins are a must.
How often are you following up? Obviously this will depend on the task, but how do you decide when to follow up?
 

Topkick

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#8
Without guidelines how highup would you let your Soldiers take a problem? If you give them free reign are you expecting them to come to you before they work it up higher?
Good question. This is the reason for checking up often and staying involved. The info channels should flow in both directions. In the military, you have skill levels and I think you should allow them to make appropriate decisions based on that, although it's not always that black and white.

Of course this is conditional, based on established performance history. You usually know who you can trust and how much free reign you can give them.;-)
 
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#9
Proactive.

I've learned it's easier to tackle a task head on and it makes follow up tasks and actions easier. I'll select people that I know how to handle a given task and if they don't know how to handle it I'll work with them either by buddying them up with someone who does know how to handle it, or I'll give them one on one instruction so that they gain an understanding.

I don't tell them outright "hey I'm delegating this to you" instead I give them a specific and detailed task and request they complete it, if I feel like they don't know the results I expect I'll go into more detail to give them a clear idea of what I'm expecting. I will then follow up on the person in question to make sure that it was completed to satisfaction.

If I'm receiving the task I personally prefer it when I'm given a clear goal and if there are certain guidelines that they are explained to me. Then basically just let me do my thing so I can get it done.
 

NavyBuyer

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#10
Proactive.

I've learned it's easier to tackle a task head on and it makes follow up tasks and actions easier. I'll select people that I know how to handle a given task and if they don't know how to handle it I'll work with them either by buddying them up with someone who does know how to handle it, or I'll give them one on one instruction so that they gain an understanding.

I don't tell them outright "hey I'm delegating this to you" instead I give them a specific and detailed task and request they complete it, if I feel like they don't know the results I expect I'll go into more detail to give them a clear idea of what I'm expecting. I will then follow up on the person in question to make sure that it was completed to satisfaction.

If I'm receiving the task I personally prefer it when I'm given a clear goal and if there are certain guidelines that they are explained to me. Then basically just let me do my thing so I can get it done.
So why not outright tell them you are delegating it? Wouldn't that make that person feel empowered knowing that you trusted them to accomplish a task that you had been tasked with to begin with?

What questions do you ask to ensure you are staying within the guidelines when delegated a task?
 

AWP

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#11
You can delegate authroity, but not responsibility. Like a lot of topics, this one is nuanced and situationally dependent. Generally speaking:

- I rack and stack my team's tasks: priority, deadline, technical difficulty, etc. If the deadline is tight, I give it to my best guy. If we have time, I like to give it to someone with more skills so he can mentor someone with less experience.

- I typically let them run with a task, checking up occasionally. I think you have to give someone some latitude to learn and make mistakes. Checking up also allows you to nip something in the bud and keep everyone on track and on time.

- I task via email to my team and leadership so everyone knows who is working on what and who has the authority to make decisions.

- I think the hardest part of delegation is letting go in the first place.

TL;DR: Probably a 60/40 split in favor of being proactive, if only because I like to give my guys a chance to be adults and professionals without me looking over their shoulders.
 

Devildoc

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#14
How often are you following up? Obviously this will depend on the task, but how do you decide when to follow up?
Depends on the task/job. The more involved and the higher the stakes, the more often the follow-up. Also depends on if my direct report (and theirs) needs detailed follow up, too.
 
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#15
So what do you tell your team? Or do you just divy out tasks? What happens if you don't do it the way your CEO was expecting you to do it?
Gameplan, timeline, expectations. Lower priority stuff can be directed and used as learning or cross training on things. Higher priority, everyone gets in their zone, gives their input on smoothing the wheel out, then executes the final plan.

The initial discussion gives me an idea of what the CEO thinks is the best way of going about something. I think people should understand there are a lot of ways to get to the same end result. Follow up discussion after the fact reviews what went well and what didn't etc. Normally, I don't deviate too much. There are times where I hard disagree with things, but if my boss says this is the way it goes I perform to the best I can how he wants it done and make sure to do it how he wants. There was one time many years ago under my former CEO where I did something drastically different on a high level issue. The outcome doesn't matter, I was wrong and while it was not going to be a job threatening decision, it was trust threatening. I am better for learning that early in my 20s, and lucky for having it happen under my mentor.
 

Marine0311

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#16
I will save these answers for later and add them to my own mix. Very interesting and great responses from those of you many levels above mine. :D
 
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#17
So why not outright tell them you are delegating it? Wouldn't that make that person feel empowered knowing that you trusted them to accomplish a task that you had been tasked with to begin with?

What questions do you ask to ensure you are staying within the guidelines when delegated a task?
After reading through the other responses and yours as well I think I misinterpreted the original question.

What I'm trying to say is that I still explain to them that I'm putting my faith and trust into them to get the job done because I feel they have the ability to do it.

About using the word itself, I don't know why I generally don't. I think it's because when I first started out I had some really horrible leaders who all they ever did was delegate, but never put in work themselves causing myself and others to resent working under those specific people. I understood back then that they had extra responsibilities, however you can tell when someone is just lazy or when they also have their own stuff they need to do and they ask you to help out.

Working up through that has caused me to rely less on the people underneath me because I didnt want to become the person I used to work under. That doesn't mean I don't delegate, because I do, I just probably don't do it near as much as i should or could be doing. Plus I tend to take full responsibility for a lot of things even if it may have been out of my control or purview so I sometimes have a hard time trusting people with certain things that in my mind I can do better and faster.

I'll ask the person if theres anything specific I need to know, what time frame they want it done by, and what their expectations are.

If any of this doesn't make sense just say so and I'll try and clarify, I've been trying to formulate that clearly and that's the best I've gotten so far.
 
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