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Dare to Delegate

Jan 30, 2024
Dare to Delegate

Do you ever feel like you're the gatekeeper of all things important, from answering daily questions to approving expenses to overseeing your team's big projects?

It's like being the conductor of a chaotic orchestra, frantically waving your baton while trying to keep the cacophony of decisions in tune! You're orchestrating a symphony of authority where every note matters, and one wrong move could lead to a discordant mess. But why is it so challenging to pass the baton and let someone else take a turn leading the melody? 

The Delegation Dilemma

Picture this: You delegate a task, hoping to alleviate some pressure and free up your schedule. But alas, things don't go as planned. Disappointed and frustrated, you swoop in, reclaim the task, and vow never to delegate again. Sound familiar? 

Enter the EDGE Method

Many years ago, I learned this great delegation framework as a Boy Scout leader. To build leadership skills, older Scouts teach the younger Scouts how to do everything from tying knots, cooking eggs, and making a campfire. Despire the fire hazard, it works because the older Scouts follow the EDGE method.

  1. EXPLAIN: Clearly articulate the task, its objectives, and your expectations. You might even review a policy, procedure, or checklist that will help your delegate succeed.
  2. DEMONSTRATE: You perform the task while they watch. Show them each step, reinforcing what you're doing, and the special touches that you feel are important.
  3. GUIDE: Next, they perform the task while you watch. Offer support, answer questions, and make sure they aren't skipping steps or cutting corners.
  4. EMPOWER: Once you're confident they can do it, it's time to give them their solo performance. Empowerment isn't just a buzzword, it's the secret sauce to fostering growth and autonomy within your team.

A word of caution...

Many managers jump right from Explain to Empower. They describe what needs to be done and then, leap right to Empowering the team member to act on their own. When mistakes are made, frustration and disappointment keep you from delegating again.

Follow all four steps, including Demonstrate and Guide, and you won't be disappointed.

Navigating Personality Pitfalls in Delegation

Here's the catch...if you're not delegating, chances are it's not because you don't know how. Whether you believe in my EDGE method or another framework you've learned along the way, you still might hesistate to delegate. I have news for you. Your personality traits might be getting in the way. 

When I coach leaders, I find four personality traits often get in the way of delegation:

  • Worry: We worry about our team members' ability to successfully complete the tasks.
  • Perfectionism: We fear the tasks won't be completed to our exacting standards.
  • Detail-Orientation: We micro-manage things to the point where we're just doing the task along side the person.
  • Lack of Trust: We just don't have the confidence that our musicians will play with virtuosity and end up trying to play all the instruments ourselves.

I don't expect you to lower your standards, but following the EDGE method will give you the hands-off approach that leads to the growth in your team that you need to conduct from the wings.

Before you close this tab and dive back into the overwhelm of your daily duties, I have a challenge for you.

I dare you to delegate something in the next 24 hours!

Perhaps it's that report that's been gathering dust on your desk or attendance at a meeting that bores you to tears. Not sure where to begin? Ask yourself these questions:

From your perspective...

  • What is keeping you from focusing on your professional and personal goals?
  • What tasks are draining for you?
  • What questions do you frequently get asked that could be answered by someone else?
  • How will your job or your team member's jobs change in the future so you can start preparing them today?
  • What knowledge or skills would you like team members to develop?

From your team's perspective...

  • What are your team members' professional and personal goals?
  • What tasks energize them?
  • What would they like to learn?
  • How do your team members feel they can be helpful to you?
  • What can they do better, differently, or more often?
  • What would boost their confidence?

From the answers to those questions, choose a task or some authority that you can delegate, muster your courage, and follow the EDGE method to make it happen!

Be sure to let me know how it works for you so I can cheer bravo for your magnificent performance!

Need Help?

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