Delegation is a crucial skill for any leader. It starts with understanding and clearly communicating desired outcomes.

Beyond this, personal preferences and effectiveness come into play.

Reflect on your approach:

Q: To what extent should a leader dictate how the delegated work is to be done?

Q: What would the ideal delegation process look like for me?

Q: In what ways might I improve my approach?

Q: How can I make the process easier for myself?

How Do I Delegate?

Tom’s Reflection on These Questions

Delegation is key to any level of leadership both at work and in the personal realm. We first need to be clear what exactly we are delegating and what our expectations are for the overall process.

Let’s make this real. A grant funding application needs to be submitted. This funding is significant and is to help part-fund an existing project. The chair sends out an email to the leadership team, asking for their input.

About ten different pieces of documentation need to be prepared. Some require a lot of work so, as the request was addressed to the whole team, nobody responds. The leader gets a little annoyed and anxious – the deadline is approaching – so he sends another two emails but once again there is no tangible request.

Finally, one of the leadership team steps up and breaks down the paperwork into functional categories (finance, project management, legal), asking the relevant department heads if they are able to take this one. A deadline of 10 days is set. He then suggests a meeting with a couple of key people to discuss how to draft the remaining two documents.

The leader essentially wanted to offload the responsibility but hadn’t make the request clear.

Delegating is therefore first and foremost about making the request tangible: What exactly are we delegating? And to whom?

  • Furthermore, what are we asking them to take on?
  • How are we asking them to do it?
  • What level of oversight and reporting do we need? Do we want to schedule regular check-ins or just leave it to our team member to update us as needed?

Ultimately, it is about making this process as easy as possible for ourselves, whilst getting the outcomes we want.

Programme Overview

The Curious Leaders programme is designed to foster a deep sense of curiosity about who you are as a person and as a leader. It challenges you to reflect on what you can do each day to become a more effective leader. The premise is that before we can truly lead others, we first need to lead ourselves.

It thus ultimately starts with self-leadership. This is about building a practice of reflection and action whereby we become increasingly curious about how our thinking is impacting our actions. This is the first step in building a world in which curiosity shapes leadership.

In this world, leaders aren’t boxed in by traditional thinking or established playbooks. They are open to fresh ideas and diverse perspectives, fostering a culture of exploration and learning. In truth, nurturing curiosity in leadership is essential if we are to address the key challenges of the 21st century.

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