Delegate to Accelerate Success
by Ed Sykes
During the first season of the television reality
show, The Apprentice, Donald Trump would give the
ultimate winner the dream job of working for him,
running one of his divisions and earning 0,000 per
year. On the final episode, the choice came down
to two candidates, Bill Rancic and Kwame Jackson,
for the ultimate job. Both were very
qualified. Bill Rancic was the owner of a successful
Internet cigar business grossing over one million
dollars a year, and Kwame Jackson was a graduate
of Harvard Business School and most recently worked
for the prestigious Wall Street investment house,
Goldman Sachs, as an Investment Manager.
In my opinion, the decision on who would receive
the job came down to one thing
Both Bill and Kwame delegated tasks to their team
members and achieved success. However, Kwame
was asked several questions by Mr. Trump relating
to how Kwame handled one team member, Omarosa Manigult-Stallworth.
Mr. Trump wondered why Kwame let Omarosa get away
with lying to him and not working with the other
team members to make the project successful. Kwame
responded to Mr. Trump that he didnt know
he could fire Omarosa. Mr. Trump stated that Kwame
should have asked if he could fire Omarosa.
Bill Rancic got the job. This drives home the point
how to delegate to accelerate success both for you,
your organization, and your team.
If we know it is an important key for our success,
why dont we delegate? Here are some of the
excuses I routinely hear:
* No Time I have no time to teach a team
member the tasks.
* No Energy It takes a lot of energy to follow-up
and keep team members on task for success.
* I Can Do It Better I know what needs to
be done and can do it better and faster so Ill
just do it.
* Why Should I? Why should I train someone
to do my job?
Why? If you are in a leadership position, your job
is to take the time and the energy to train others
to do more so that the you, your team, and your
organization are more successful.
Well, what are the benefits of quality delegation?
1. You multiply yourself The more you delegate,
the more you create team members that can accomplish
much more in much less time. You are known as someone
who gets things done with self-directed teams.
2. You create a motivated group The more
you delegate, the more your team members are motivated
because they see you as someone who trusts them
and their abilities to get things accomplished.
Because your team is motivated, they take more initiative
to create solutions, be more creative, and are willing
to take on more responsibilities.
3. You master stress and time management skills
You are forced to prioritize your tasks and
realize that there are tasks that you do not need
to do, yet would be perfect tasks to develop your
team members. By learning how to prioritize your
tasks for delegation, you will be less stressed
during the workday and go home at the end of the
day satisfied that you accomplished more.
4. You are known as a person who develops people
The more you delegate, the more you will
be known within the organization as a person who
develops people. Remember, even when you think no
one is watching, someone is always watching the
way you achieve success by developing your people.
Whether its management, other teams, departments
or divisions, someone is watching. The word will
spread about how well you develop people. The results,
management will see you as a developer of people;
and other employees, both inside and outside of
your organization, will fight to work for you because
they know you have a motivated, creative working
5. You create opportunities for yourself and others
By delegating tasks to others, you can then
take on more advanced tasks that will prepare you
for future opportunities when they become available.
This is the main reason why the excuse if
I delegate my tasks to my employees, then they can
take my job doesnt fly in my book. Another
reason why you delegate tasks is so that you can
develop yourself for future promotions, monetary,
and career opportunities. For example, if you want
to become vice president for your organization and
you know that skills B, M, Z are required by all
vice presidents, then delegate any management tasks
that you have already mastered to your team members
so that you can then ask for more vice presidential
tasks. When that position is available within or
outside of the organization, who do you think will
have the inside track? You will! Because you can
say you already have the skills of a vice president,
while developing the people behind you to fill the
void when you are promoted. Also, as a leader, you
never want your team members to be with you in the
same position forever. Thus, delegating tasks continuously
prepares them for opportunities that may come their
So how do we successfully delegate tasks? Here are
my seven steps to delegating tasks to achieve success.
These tips can not only be used in your organization
for more success, but in every aspect of your life
to accomplish more.
1. Understand the Task
Make sure you understand the task so that you can
clearly communicate the task to the person undertaking
the task. You must also understand what barriers
and resources are required to succeed.
Also, you must understand what tools you have to
make the task successful. Along with resources needed,
if the person isnt progressing on the task,
what options do you have as a leader and manager
to make it successful? Questions you can ask is,
Can I provide additional training? or
Can I acquire additional tools? Or if
they are not suited for the task, ask these questions,
Can I reassign them? or if they turn
out to be detrimental to the project or team, What
actions can I take to alleviate this situation?
Make sure you click on the Delegation Checklist
link at the end of this article to receive your
f*r*e*e copy of this important tool that will give
you the tools to make the best decisions when delegating
2. Find the Right Person
Find the person who is motivated to take on the
task. You may have someone who has the skills to
do the task but is not motivated to do it. This
situation will not work. However, if you have someone
that doesnt have the skills, but is highly
motivated to learn and is excited about the opportunity,
then this is a good candidate for delegation. The
person must also be motivated to take on this task
for the good of the group as well as his/her own
motivations. You might ask, How does this
assignment help you achieve your career goals?
It also helps the person has good communications
skills to express any concerns.
3. Communicate the Task
Take the time to clearly communicate the task. Communicate
the expectations of the task. And most importantly,
communicate the ownership of the task. What I mean
is that the person assigned to the task will be
ultimately responsible for the success of the task.
When communicating responsibility for the task,
let the person know the consequences of not completing
the task and the rewards of completing the task.
For example, you might say something like this:
Mike, this report to justify the new computer
system is important because if it is not done on
time our division will not have the tools to meet
our customers needs. By putting together the
report by the June 15th deadline we will qualify
for the new computer system which will allow our
division to exceed customer service expectations,
increase our organizations bottom line and
earn you a bigger bonus and positive exposure for
future opportunities. I know you will do what it
takes to make this happen.
Note: If possible, show the employee how to do the
task. Telling and showing the person delegated the
task enhances the probability of his/her understanding
and being confident with the task.
4. Provide Resources, Remove Barriers
Now is our opportunity to make sure that the person
we are delegating the task to has the resources.
Whether it is the time, people, or technology, it
is our responsibility to find out after understanding
the task, picking the right person, and communicating
the task to provide the resources for success. I
have seen time and time again in a variety of organizations
where the person delegated the task has the ownership
for its success but doesnt have the resources
to be successful. Take the time to ask the following
question, What resources will you need to
Also find out what barriers might be in the way
to successful completion of the task and eliminate
them. This could be people, organizational restrictions,
or lack of knowledge. For example, with people,
the task you assign might require the person assigned
the task to work with someone who has a challenging
personality. Knowing this, you could make
sure that this person with the challenging
personality understands the importance of
this task so that he/she does not hinder the success
of the task.
Note: Let the person delegated know that you have
an open door should he/she have any questions concerning
the task. Open communication is important for this
arrangement to work.
When you provide resources and remove barriers for
the person delegated the task, you are ensuring
complete ownership for the success of the task.
5. Guarantee Understanding
Make sure when the person leaves the meeting, that
he/she understands exactly what is expected. The
typical interaction between a manager or supervisor
and the employee is the manager asks, Do you
understand everything we discussed? and the
employee of course says, Yes. Then a
week later the manager is disappointed with the
results of the task and asks, What happened?
and the employee says, I didnt understand
what I was supposed to do. We set that employee
up for failure by not taking the time to make sure
he/she understood what was expected to make this
By asking the question, Mike, do you understand
the task at hand? you receive a closed-ended,
or yes or no, answer. It doesnt give you one
ounce of information on whether the person understands
By asking an open-ended question, Mike, please
share with me your understanding of what is required
to make this task successful? the person giving
the answer is required to give a comprehensive answer
detailing his/her thoughts on the task at hand.
The answer will give you an indication as to whether
the task is understood or not. Also, at this point,
the employee may give you in the answer a totally
different and better way to accomplish the task.
6. Encourage Success
Let the person delegated the task know that you
have confidence in him/her. Remember, in most cases,
this task is new to hi/herm and by communicating
that you have confidence that he/she will be successful
gives the confidence to succeed. You might say something
Mike, Im glad we had the time to go
over this task today and you understand what is
required to be successful. I am excited and confident
that you will make this task your own and put your
unique spin on it. I look forward to hearing about
your progress on this task and the successes along
the way to its completion. Thank you for undertaking
this very important task.
7. Followup, Reward, Followup, Reward
This is where I go back to The Apprentice. Kwames
follow-up, or lack of appropriate follow-up with
Omarosa, could have led to his teams failing
and morale going down. It did lead to Kwame not
getting his dream job.
Here are some tips for good follow-up:
* Make sure you know the level of follow-up required.
One factor is the person you are delegating the
task to and his/her level of knowledge and confidence
concerning the task. Ask! Some people may want much
follow-up, while other may require little follow-up.
It also depends on how difficult the task is to
* Make sure you have scheduled follow-ups. Before
you leave the first meeting, make sure you schedule
your first follow-up; whether it is one day or week,
schedule that first follow-up.
* Reward progress at each follow-up meeting and
in public if possible. Show appreciation (Read my
article, Appreciate to Motivate) in
the meeting and, if possible, in public so that
everyone is motivated to do more.
* Correct to get back on track. In most cases it
may be as simple as showing the correct way of doing
the task or brainstorming so that the person responsible
for the task will come up with the solution. This
will keep the person and your team motivated toward
the end result. Or, in Omarosas case, what
steps do you need to take to get the project back
on track? Possibly retrain, reassign, minimize,
provide corrective action or the ultimate action
the person if he/she are knowingly disregarding
your organizations policies and procedures.
Believe me, Omarosas are rare if you
have taken the necessary steps along the way to
pick the right person.
Follow the steps mentioned and you will be well
on the way to enjoying a successful career, business,
and life and accomplishing far more in less time.
About the Author
Ed Sykes is a professional speaker, author, and
success coach in the areas of leadership, motivation,
stress management, customer service, and team building.
You can e-mail him at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org,
or call him at (757) 427-7032. Go to his web site,
http://www.thesykesgrp.com, and signup for the newsletter,
OnPoint, and receive the free ebook, "Empowerment
and Stress Secrets for the Busy Professional."