Do You Delegate Collaboratively?



I bet you are thinking “heck no, isn’t that an oxymoron? Isn’t delegation all about getting stuff off my list onto other people’s lists so I can finally get down to the strategic work I haven’t had time for? Are you telling me that I need to collaborate more? Won’t this take more time?”


Well, it’s a bit of a yes in the short term but you will save time and realize many more benefits in the long term!


Just keep reading....I’ll explain.


As a leadership coach, my clients come to at least 50% of our sessions wanting to explore one topic - how to lead others in a way that builds trust AND achieves results.


Most of the time we are workshopping real scenarios that my clients want to see improved. Typically, when we get to the root cause of the issue they are facing, it has to do with one or more parties in the scenario lacking clarity or being misaligned on what was expected. What this translates to is that one or both parties failed to delegate or assign the task with clarity.


Enter the practice of collaborative delegation.


You will save time, build trust, increase clarity, help your teams and peers develop and be more accountable, and get results when you practice collaborative delegation.


And even more importantly, people will be inspired by your commitment to their success. As a result, they will feel respected, engaged, and motivated to go the extra mile for you.


And isn’t that really what we are all trying to achieve with our leadership????


So what is collaborative delegation anyway?


Simply put, it’s a process of involving others when assigning work. You have collaboratively delegated a task when you have shared the right work with the right people at the right time with the right amount of support.


Let’s break each of these sections down:


  1. Shared - yes even when you delegate, you continue to play a role and are accountable for the success of the project - there is no 100% transfer of ownership... ever.

  2. Right work - you can only delegate work when the task is clear and you have defined what success looks like.

  3. Right people - you can only delegate to people who are open to doing the work, have the skills to do the work, and have the capacity to do it. Even if you think “they should have the skills by now” if they don’t - they don’t. Don’t mistake what I mean here - you should definitely challenge people and if they aren’t developing at a reasonable pace then you have to address this - but that’s a subject for a future article.

  4. Right time - you have thought through the realistic amount of time this task should take, you have assessed that the work is a priority and fits with your current goals and strategy, you have considered what adding this task will mean for the person you are delegating it to, and most importantly you have the dedicated the right amount of time to explain and clarify the task or project with the person you are assigning it to.

  5. Right support - this goes back to the idea of staying in the process from start to finish and co-designing what support the person will need from you and others to be successful in the completion of the task. This also means you provide feedback along the way to ensure learning and skill development.


Oh, and I saved the best detail for last - this applies to everyone you work with - you can practice collaborative delegation with your team, your peers, and you can even coach up to your leader to better delegate to you. Wouldn’t you like to be delegated to in the way I’ve just described?


Want more help learning the 10 Steps to Collaborative Delegation? Book a complimentary 30-minute meeting with me today to discuss!