Award responsibility by level of trust

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

At its simplest, delegation involves handing over assignments to your employees. But there are four ways to delegate. Your success as a manager depends on whether you choose the right model for the situation:

1. “Get back to me.” In this type of delegation, you instruct an employee to research an issue, gather facts and present them to you. Then you make the decision.

This half-hearted delegation only works when you want to exercise tight authority. But beware: By not removing yourself from the decision-making process, you undermine the purpose of delegating and reveal a lack of faith in your employees to direct themselves.

2. “Give me your thoughts on this.” If you’re willing to pull back a bit, you might tell an employee to investigate a problem, list options for taking action and then recommend the best one. This is a useful training tool, especially if you evaluate the worker’s recommendations carefully and explain why you select one over the others.

3. “Keep me posted.” As much as you may want to withdraw entirely after giving an assignment, you may prefer to get updates or establish checkpoints. That’s when you ask employees to inform you of what they’re going to do, what they’re doing and the result. It’s delegation by oversight, and it allows you to stand aside while keeping tabs from a distance.

4. “This baby’s yours.” This advanced form of delegation requires total trust. You turn over a task to a worker and say, “Take care of it.” Then you bow out. You don’t even ask to be kept in the loop. You just want the job done.

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