When things get crazy busy in the trough of chaos, some leaders just dump and run. They race into a meeting, late from their last meeting, and listen for a few minutes before deciding what to do. Then, they speak quickly and dump all of the work onto those in the meeting before running off to their next meeting. It’s a classic dump and run form of leadership. It’s not even command and control which, for the most part outside a strict military hierarchy, is mostly control and command. No, this form of leadership is mostly listen, freak out, react, dump, and run. It never works even if you’ve been doing it for eons.
First, dumping work onto people is not delegation. It’s just plan disrespectful to those who receive it, and who more likely are already busy themselves. Second, it reflects internal chaos rather than just external chaos. Third, it never builds ownership and quality outcomes. It’s just plain sloppy leadership.
When you meet excellent leaders who work for very good companies, they recognize that delegation is the transferring of clarity, focus and the authority to complete a task or project in a timely and accurate manner. They start by building ownership and clarity. This happens before the act of delegation takes place. When an excellent leader builds a day to day work environment where people are respected, trusted and treated with dignity, this same leader also role models these characteristics. Then effective delegation is a successful by product of their initial work.
Next, when an exceptional leader does delegate, they first make sure people understand the problem they are trying to solve and understand the decision architecture around the problem, i.e. who can and who can not be involved and how to make the important decisions related to the issues that are being delegated.
Finally, exceptional leaders recognize that the day to day experiences of employees impact not just the day to day life of the company, but also impacts the company’s ability to execute it’s strategy. I keep reminding leaders at this time period that the ways they lead and delegate in 2018 have a direct impact on what kind of company they will be in 2023, a mere five years away from this winter.
This week, do not choose to dump and run. Coach everyone within your circle of influence to not do it either. When we no longer tolerate poor delegation, we are making a long term commitment to doing the right things for the right reasons.