How do you effectively delegate in your business?
And for that matter… what does effective delegation even mean?
Most business owners have one way of delegating, and they think that it is the only way of delegating.
In reality, if their one method of delegation has worked, it’s because they have been extremely lucky with a particular team member/task type combination that has worked in that one, specific situation.
The truth is there are many styles of delegation, each dependent on the task at hand, the team member and their stage of professional development.
Effective delegation is all about recognising this, and adapting how you delegate to the situation at hand.
The model for this is known as Kenneth Blanchard’s Situational Leadership, which was developed in the 1970s.1Despite the name, it is actually a model for management, not leadership. Management = recognising team strengths and weaknesses and working with them. Leadership = unifying vision.
The Situational Leadership and Effective Delegation Model
Unpacking Effective Delegation
Here’s how the situational leadership and effective delegation model breaks down.
1. Directing (S1)
Directing means high direction and low support.
This means that a team member is new to the task and is not familiar with it. You must be prescriptive with your direction, providing step-by-step instruction.
You do not, however, need to provide much in terms of motivational support because they will already be motivated in starting a new task.
2. Coaching (S2)
Coaching means high direction and high support.
As the team member becomes more familiar with the task, you still need to be prescriptive, but the challenges of the task will start becoming apparent to the team member, so you must also provide coaching and motivational support.
3. Supporting (S3)
Supporting means low direction and high support.
By this stage, the team member understands how to do the task at a technical level, but will likely be stumbling over any challenges and roadblocks. This is where some motivational support from you will help them succeed.
4. Delegating (S4)
Delegation is the “holy grail” of management with low direction and low support.
This is true delegation — the team member knows how to complete a task, and is familiar enough with the ups and downs of the task that they are self-motivated to complete it.
All you need to do is check in for a status update.
Direction in this model refers to step-by-step, do-this-do-that instruction.
This can even border on micromanagement at times.
Support, on the other hand, is motivational.
It’s all about letting the team member know that, “you can do this”, and letting them know, “if you need to discuss, just Slack me and we can talk through it”.
It’s about providing motivational support and encouragement in the form of words, mentoring and coaching for the team member and this specific task.
Using Effective Delegation In Your Business
Using the effective delegation model in your business is simple.
Starting a Task or Project
Whenever you are assigning a project or task to a team member, ask them:
What level of direction and support do you want?
And then start with that.
And as a manager, you then adapt along the spectrum from S1 to S4 or until the project finishes.
Checking In and Meetings
What about meetings and check ins?
Earlier on in the model (S1, S2), you, as the manager, will want to schedule check ins with the team member every 1-2 days.
Once you get to S3, you will want to schedule a check in once a week.
At S4, you should be checking in only at the request of the team member in the form of a status update.
This makes sense, as in the earlier stages more direction is needed, and more support is needed in the later stages.
SOP for Effective Delegation
Want a Delegation SOP that you can 1-click into your Notion for yourself and your managers to use?
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What To Do Next
Grab the SOP.
Then start practicing effective delegation.
And have your managers and team leaders practice it as well.
It will change the way you work with your team for the better.
If you need help implementing this in your business, let’s hop on a discovery call here and see how we can work together to get you set up your team with better and more effective delegation.
- Despite the name, it is actually a model for management, not leadership. Management = recognising team strengths and weaknesses and working with them. Leadership = unifying vision.