In my last post, I shared a strategy to reduce the number of questions you receive after you delegate: delegate the OUTCOME instead of the TASK. Often people get caught up in the details of the process so they have tons of little-picture questions. However, when you delegate in the big-picture (giving them control of the process and holding them responsible for the outcome), you’ll receive fewer questions.

After that e-blast I received this response:

“Lisa, delegating the outcome sounds great in theory . . . but the reality is that I just don’t have anyone on my staff who is capable of making those types of decisions.”

That might be true.

And . . . it may not!

According to Robert B. Maddux (in Delegating for Results), you can delegate to an employee or volunteer using 6 different levels.

Level I – Look into the situation, get all the facts and report back for instructions.
Level II – Identify the problem, determine several solutions and the pros and cons of each, recommend one for approval and wait for instructions.
Level III – Examine the matter, send word on what you intend to do, take no action until you get the go ahead.
Level IV – Decide on a strategy, send word of what it is, and take action unless you hear otherwise.
Level V – Take action on this matter and report back on what you did and how it turned out.
Level VI – Take action, no further communication is necessary. The assumption is that it’s been handled.

Different projects need to be assigned at different levels, depending on the “delegatee.” Your goal is to delegate at the highest level possible for the person and the project, to maximize your effectiveness.

If you find yourself in a situation where you just don’t have anyone on your current support staff capable of working at a Level IV or higher, you need to help someone “skill-up” or look to bring on additional staff. Otherwise, you will be caught in the delegate – answer questions – delegate – answer questions cycle…which will not save time and will lead to frustration.

One way to help your employees skill-up is to have a conversation about the 6 Levels of Delegation. 

•    Where do they think they are?
•    Does their confidence change based on the type of task?

Someone you feel “just isn’t capable of making those decisions” may not think they have the authority to make those decisions, so they hang back.

They also may not be completely clear of their role when it comes to the outcome, so they do not yet have the confidence to make decisions. Once they understand their role a bit better they will be able to execute better.

OR, maybe they ARE in over their head! In which case you now know what you can (and cannot) delegate.

A primary key to being able to delegate the outcome and not just the task is to know your staff and put them in situations where they can be successful.

I know the 6 Levels of Delegation concept is simple to understand – but certainly not easy to implement. If you’d like to talk it through a bit, I invite you to apply for a complimentary 30-minute Propel Your Productivity Breakthrough Session.