Using Systems Instead of Trying to Smash a Square Peg Through a Round Hole
What's your style? No, not your sign... your style. The first and most important step in becoming a great delegator is to identify your own natural style. Here's a sampling from our delegation system for entrepreneurs, Power Up Your Team - Power Up Your Profits. Once you see where you fall then you can build in the checks and balances and build the kind of team who will support your style rather than fighting against it.
So basically for all those times you've been told that you have to do things in a way that feels completely unnatural to you I say... well, forget that!
Here are four common delegation styles, their pros, their cons and what you need to be aware of if this is you. And yes, it's official. I give you permission to stop trying to smash your square peg through a round hole.
Additionally it's important to point out that your style may change depending on the situation you're in, the type of employee/contractor, or the individual you're working with. You may tend to be one type of delegator more frequently than another, but it is likely that your delegation style will shift. Really pay attention to all four styles.
Style 1: Set it and forget it. That is the employer or the business owner who is going to assign a task: I want you to handle customer service. They hand it off and never check in again. They just assume that things are going well.
Here's what it looks like. We had a client who (before he started working with us), set up a customer service person and then never checked in again. The next thing he knew, he signed onto Facebook and read a really nasty message from somebody who had apparently purchased something from his company and was trying to get hold of somebody - and couldn't. Apparently, the person who had been in this customer service role took off and didn't bother to tell anybody. The questions and phone calls weren't getting answered. Customers weren't being responded to.
If you're a 'set it and forget it' kind of person what that really means is that you're going to have to put in some checks and balances. You can't just leave somebody alone. You have to come back and talk with them. If that's you, I just want you to notice that... really pay attention to how you delegate. Again, it's not bad. It's just something that we want you to notice.
Style 2 Micromanager Extraordinaire I think that is pretty clear from the title. It's someone who just can't let go and is constantly checking in to see what's happening. These bosses really don't give their team members any room to perform their functions. They're almost smothering them with attention. Not only does that frustrate the team member, but it also is a waste of time and energy for the business manager who is spending all that time and energy worrying and fretting that things aren't perfect.
This really looks like a client that we had a long time ago who was a micromanager. He wouldn't let go of anything. He had this full team of people who were working for him but all the phone calls were coming to him. All the change requests were coming directly to him. It was because he had a fear that if he didn't do it himself the things would fall through the cracks.
In reality he was putting himself in the center of everything - which actually made him the bottleneck. There was no way for his team to support him. They were frustrated with that because they would get yelled at when something didn't get handled, but the only person who knew about the 'something' was him... and he either forgot to tell them or he would get busy and things would get stuck.
He was so in the middle of everything and micromanaging everything that he didn't let go and that was the problem. You just can't be in the middle. You just can't be the bottleneck.
Style 3: Move over; I'll do it myself This is someone who is going to give a little bit of rope and then just yanks it right back.
We had a client who was doing this. They had hired a Project Manager to run things for them but then would step in and start actually doing the work of the Project Manager. The Project Manager would come in and find that some things were done and some things weren't... and they couldn't remember what they did and what was happening. It was very confusing to the person who was trying to be the Project Manager.
When you step in and actually try to do the work yourself - work that you've already assigned to somebody else, you start to get into problems. It gets confusing. You'll see that things are being done twice. You'll see things not being done the way you want them to be done because there will always be somebody assuming that you've done something and they don't need to do it. It's a huge confusion creator. When you've given something away, really give it away... and then check in on them later.
Style 4: Hey, you'll do This style tends to show up when your are feeling ready to give some responsibilities or tasks away but aren't really sure about WHO you need. In this case you'll just hire the first person who comes along without really making sure you're hiring the right person with the necessary skills.
It feeds all of those myths when there is no proper foundation for making sure that you're bringing in the right person versus just hiring anybody off the street... that 's the Hey, you'll do, kind of approach.
If that's you, if you aren't sure and you just hire from the hip or find vendors from the hip... you want to make sure you do you due diligence BEFORE you utter the word... you're hired.