Gary Winters

Coach  Workshop Facilitator Author

“Make it so, Number One!”

How often did we hear Captain Picard say that to his first officer on Star Trek? It’s the last step of delegation. Carry on!

In the first of this two-part series, we discussed what to delegate. Now let’s go over how.

Before we begin, a reminder: learning a new skill that involves learning several steps can feel overwhelming at first. If you’ve ever learned how to dance, you probably felt you had two left feet for a while. Then a time comes when it clicks and you’ve not thinking about the steps, you’re doing them, without having to remember them. So it goes with applying the six steps of effective delegation as well.

Step One: Choose the right person.

The better you understand your team, the easier this will be. A project that requires collaboration, for instance, would be a poor fit for an employee who enjoys working alone.

Step Two: Explain why you’re delegating this task or project.

Why did you choose them? “Kaitlyn, I’d like you to conduct the first round of interviews for our new hire. You’ve sat in on other interviewers, and the next step for your own development is to take the lead. It will give me time to focus on our next strategy meeting, while you practice your interviewing skills.”

Step Three: Provide clear instructions.

“I’ll need you to review all the candidates resumes we’ve received from HR. Choose up to five for interviews. Develop a set of interview questions based on the criteria we’ve established last month.

“Schedule one-hour interviews. Make sure you make summary notes after each. Then rank-order the candidates.

“I’d like to see your recommendations no later than three weeks from today.”

I frequently add something like this, “Now, just to make sure I’ve been clear – repeat back to me in your own words what you heard me saying.”

Step Four: Provide training and/or resources.

“Kaitlyn, I know you recently attended the Effective Interviewing Techniques class – but it’s been a few weeks. I’m going to send you a link to a one-hour video review of the program you can watch if you need to get back up to speed.

Step Five: Be clear about responsibility andauthority.

In some ways, this may be the most important step. “Kaitlyn, I want to be clear that you’re responsible for choosing the top three finalists for this position. Anyone you rank lower than third will be eliminated.

“At the same time, I’ll make the final decision based on the conversation we have after you’ve completed the interviews.”

Step Six: Afterwards, offer feedback.

“Kaitlyn, you did excellent work on these interviews. I liked the questions you developed, especially the one that asked them to describe a time when something went wrong and how they dealt with it. I’m quite satisfied with your list of the top three candidates, and following our discussion, agree that Abbie will be a good fit. Good job!”

Note, if Kaitlyn hadn’t done very well, it would be a coachable moment(!). It would be your job to give her specific, timely, focused feedback on what she did well, where she missed the mark, and what she could do differently in the future.

And there you have it.

Six steps to delegation mastery. Not every delegation will use all six steps (“Thomas, I would like you to start emailing our staff zoom meeting login instructions to everyone. Make sure they get them at least two days before the meeting. Thanks!”).

But the most important – the ones that stretch your employees to learn new skills, make more critical decisions, and reach closer to their potential – are worth taking the time to do deliberately.

Make yourself a little cheat sheet with the six steps, if that’s helpful. This week consider one stretch delegation you could make that would 1) take something off your plate, and 2) help one of your people grow.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is the sequel to the very popular “What Your Boss Never Told You.” Packed inside are more tips, techniques, and insights about the challenging, but rewarding leadership position.

“What ELSE Your Boss Never Told You” is written in a conversational tone, as though you and the author were enjoying a cup of coffee and talking about the issues that emerge for new leaders. It stands alone, and/or could be read before or after the first volume, “What Your Boss Never Told You.” You can start with any chapter and read in any order you like.

if you search for a book on management, you’ll find a staggering 600,000+ books currently available. How can you narrow that down? “What Your Boss Never Told You” is the best place to start.

No textbook here – this book is short and sweet. It’s designed to help you “unpack” your new job and be effective from the first day with your new team. It contains twenty-one chapters filled with the wisdom Winters has gathered from real managers – effective, successful leaders in organizations much like yours.

Leaders make decisions every day – big and small. Most know that if they include others in the decision-making process, the quality of those decisions – and the commitment to them – will likely improve. That said, they also know it’s impractical, if not impossible, to include others in every decision they confront.

“To Do or Not To Do” tackles the question of when to make decisions on your own, and when to involve your team. It gives you a deceptively simple but proven method to determine, when you are facing a difficult decision, how to decide how to decide.

Far too many meetings are dreadful, mind-numbing, energy-draining, productivity-sapping, colossal wastes of time. As someone once said, “To kill time, a meeting is the perfect weapon.”

Here’s the deal: if you’re willing to learn and apply the techniques in “So, How Was Your Meeting?”, you’ll call fewer meetings, while vastly improving the ones you do lead. They’ll take less time, have more balanced participation, produce better decisions, and result in concrete action items for follow-up afterwards.

While there are thousands of books written for people about to retire, this may be the only book for people who manage soon-to-retire employees. Written in a casual, conversational style, “Managing the Soon To Retire Employee” will give you everything you need to know to move forward with confidence and grace.

You can be successful with Sooners. It won’t happen by chance, and it’s not a matter of pulling some management “trick” out of your hat. But you can learn how to do it, and you can apply what you’ve learned right away.

Managing friends or former peers can be awkward. When you become the boss, everything about these relationships can suddenly be uncomfortable. There’s a new set of ground rules to establish – as manager, you are going be accountable for the work performance of friends or former co-workers on the team, and they are going to have to adjust to the fact that they now report to you. Everyone involved can feel awkward and hesitant about the future. 

Have you been approached by management with an offer to promote you to supervision? Or, are you mulling over the possibility for the future? Find yourself not sure whether to accept the promotion?

If so, you’ve come to the right place. Help! They Want to Make ME a Supervisor will help you sort out a very big question: Should you accept the offer to become a supervisor? Once you’ve read this book, you’ll be confident that you’ve made the best decision for you and for your organization.