“Delegation is central to effective leadership of people. If you do not know how to delegate authority and responsibility, then you generate around you sluggish, irresponsible “eggplants” who live according to the principle “sit and wait – the leaders will come up with them.” Oleg Afanasyev and Nikolay Inyakhin, founders of the Interim Business Association (USA, Poland, Ukraine, Belarus, Kazakhstan), talked about how to competently prepare top managers for effective delegation of authority.
Together with the Interim Business Association, we continue the rubric “Management of the company in times of change”… This section is published weekly on Wednesday. In them you will find useful information and practical advice on management.
You can find out if your company needs help in organizing more effective management right now using express diagnostics through a special bot or by going through diagnostics on the website.
A pencil helps you think
Oleg: I recently switched to a simple pencil for taking notes in a business notebook. I do not know why, but it turned out that with him it is easier to think. If what is written with a pen cannot be erased (you can only cross out), then what is written with a pencil can be easily corrected, while maintaining the purity of what is written.
Now, whatever I write is always a draft until it is finally approved by me.
But, negotiating or pondering on a sheet of notebook, you cannot be interrupted in order to sharpen a pencil – an interesting thought may slip away. So I bought a pack of pencils with rubber bands on the back and a sharpener and found a box for them. So I got the opportunity to carry a dozen sharpened pencils with me, which made it easier to replace them.
Now I sharpen my pencils every two or three days. They give me the opportunity to think, create and quickly correct if it says “wrong” …
Signs of a (not) thinking leader
The story with pencils led me to the idea that every person, every leader should have at hand effective tools that help him think. And, compiling for myself a list of “Signs of a Thinking Leader”, I highlighted the presence of a whiteboard as the first item.
1. Whiteboard. I noticed a long time ago that if there is no whiteboard in the executive’s office, then, most likely, his leadership style is authoritarian. He does not think along with his subordinates over the many problems that arise in his work, visualizing them in the search for answers. And, therefore, in making decisions, he often relies only on himself.
Whiteboard – a whiteboard on which you can write with markers, or an electronic board mounted on the wall in a meeting room or executive office. She helps teams run meetings effectively, develop creativity and communicate ideas.
This means that he does not share responsibility with his subordinates, which in turn indicates that he does not trust them.
2. Distrust. This is the main reason for the lack of full-fledged delegation of authority. Mistrust to subordinates leads to the fact that somewhere at a deep, subconscious level, the leader does not want to “share” power with his team. He wants to do everything himself and be the “smartest” in his company or division, but this does not happen.
It does not happen that one person is smarter than a group of people who work with him (since you have already hired them, then they are able to do something and correspond to something).
3. Difficult process. Delegating competently is really very difficult. Because this is the main meaning of effective leadership of people. If you do not know how to delegate authority and responsibility, then you give rise to sluggish, irresponsible “eggplants” around you, which live according to the principle “sit and wait – the leaders will come up with it.”
If strong proactive people are needed to achieve high results, then authority and responsibility are the minimum set of conditions for their existence in the company. Without them, they are very quickly disappointed and leave.
Mechanism of professional preparation of a team for delegation
Nikolay: When preparing an employee for effective delegation of authority, we proceed from the thesis: “The best management is his absence.” At the same time, we want to “grow” an independent, responsible and efficient team member who does not need to “babysit” and monitor the performance of tasks too often. We remember that micromanagement is a disease.
To prepare an employee for effective delegation, a manager must be aware that this process goes through several important stages.
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Stage 1. Recruitment
For successful recruiting, you need:
1. A clear description of areas of responsibility and indicators for assessing the performance of the position… We use a special “Activity Map” template instead of job descriptions, which are written formally in the old fashioned way and are never used in daily work. You can get acquainted with it at this link.
2. Compliance of a person’s talents with the position offered to him… It is very important here how a person talks about what he did in such a position. If he is enthusiastic and his eyes are on fire, then the likelihood that he will not need to be motivated to work is quite high. If he talks about his work without much emotion, then most likely this is not what he has been striving for all his life.
As a rule, self-motivated employees show the highest productivity because a passionate person “works” 24/7. Work is his hobby. To the question “What are your hobbies?” he replies with surprise: “Work!” This means that the natural set of talents of this person is most suitable for the content of the proposed activity.
But this is not enough!
3. Proven effectiveness… It is very important to ask the person about their achievements. It is they who show the scale of the personality and the level of professionalism, depending on the complexity of the tasks or projects performed.
4. Inner honesty with yourself… It is very important to check how honest a person is with himself, because first we have time for ourselves, and then for others. After all, we ourselves believe in the truth of our lies. Checking for openness and honesty leads to the prevention of manipulation in reports and cunning, distorting the real state of affairs.
To this end, we offer the candidate algorithms for performing future tasks and ask him to mark in them those actions that he actually did in his life. Thus, we confront him with a difficult choice: to answer the way the future employer wants and “win” as many points as possible, or answer as it is, with the risk of “losing” to potential competitors applying for the same position.
But he doesn’t know that the next step will be an impromptu “lie detector”: we invite an experienced employee who does a similar job every day, and ask him to ask the candidate questions-concretizers about those actions that the candidate noted as actually being done at some time.
It is these questions that reveal the true picture of true practical competence:
- Professional begins to “give out” a lot of small details, because he personally experienced what he is talking about
- Amateur begins to get nervous and fidget in his chair, realizing that he is “caught on the hot” – seemingly innocent lie, which actually decides everything.
Stage 2. Socio-psychological adaptation
Oleg: The social and psychological adaptation of an employee is carried out in the form of searching for his answers to natural questions that arise when he enters a new company and a new division for him. We invite him to formulate a list of questions, and then give the coordinates of people from whom he can get answers. And we give him time to collect information. To get it, he must arrange meetings with new colleagues and hold them.
After going through the “corporate structure” we discuss with him his impressions of the team as a whole and each of those with whom he spoke. And then we collect the opinions of colleagues about him. After that, we determine whether he “fit” into the team or there are some difficulties over which we need to work with him in order to put everything in its place in his perception of the reality of the company’s daily work.
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Stage 3. Professional adaptation of the employee
Professional adaptation of an employee takes place in two stages:
1. Training in the workplace. On it, we “finish training” the new employee on the specifics of work in our company according to the following algorithm:
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2. Coaching – we equip the employee with the technique of independent problem solving in accordance with the plan:
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Stage 4. We bring the employee to the planned level of productivity
Bringing an employee to a planned level of productivity is carried out by a step-by-step increase in the production rate through an individual setting of tasks during the trial period.
The sooner a new employee enters the performance standard of existing colleagues in the department, the more accurately we can assess the correctness of our choice.
Stage 5. Coaching support to consolidate the effectiveness
After the employee has reached the “production standard” in achieving the goals, it makes sense to continue mentoring him for some time, using the coaching technique he already knows.
After performance becomes a regular norm and the first facts of overfulfillment of targets appear, it makes sense to let the employee move forward on his own.
Step 6. Results management
To consolidate the received quality of preparation of an employee for delegation, we give him a memo.
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Having prepared the team in this way, the leader can safely move to the next level of management: from managing processes to managing results.
But for such a result of “education” you need to work hard to give people the opportunity to be successful.