As an executive coach, one of the most common questions that I encounter during a coaching engagement is, “How do I manage all the work?”
You trying to handle a ton of phone calls, answering bazillion messages, and trying to respond to every colleague or team member asking for your opinion – isn’t that how a typical work day looks like?
And for a day like this, which is practically every day, it never surprises me that almost every executive leader has the same question – “how do I manage all the work?
My simple answer to this question is – delegate don’t dump!
Usually, just when you feel like you’re neck down in work, the first instinct is to just dump it all somehow on the team, while you can filter the ‘more important work’ and get it done. While prioritizing is absolutely right – this is not the way to do it. You can’t make your team feel that they’re just there to make your work easier – they have to have a greater purpose of working with you. Everyone in your team should feel motivated by the kind of work they’re assigned by you – and how would you do that if you’re only thinking about easing our own work burden?
Then the executive leaders’ next obvious question is, “Vikram, how do I learn to delegate and not dump?” To answer this, here are two ways that STAR leaders use to delegate with Presence and Poise:
- Show Value
Tell your teammate how good they were while working on a specific project earlier, and how you liked the way they handled all the pressure. And while giving them a positive feedback, tell them about this new project that you think might interest them, and of course, suit their abilities perfectly. This is a really good way to delegate because you would have to give a good amount of thought into whom to assign this responsibility to. You can show value to this team mate by asking him if he looks at this new responsibility as a good growth opportunity and gain visibility? And of course, use your executive presence to intently listen to him and address any concerns.
- Seek Ideas
You can also try to share this new idea with one of your executives, asking them if they think they’re up to it. You can ask them if they have their own original ideas to make it better. You can ask them to work further on the idea, and transform it into a full-fledged project. This style is great, because if this idea is big enough, the executive you just delegated it to, might look for other executives whom they could delegate parts of this new project. So, you’d have in effect become a better leader as well, as you’d have given your teammate a chance to be a leader themselves. This style requires you to not only display good relationship-building skills but also conveys to your team that you’re truly invested in their growth. Of course, you have to communicate in an authentic manner.
Summary: Being able to delegate is a science, and you need to excel at it if you want to increase yours as well as your team’s productivity. So, delegate. And delegate using your executive presence and poise! #BeTheStar
Comments: Can you think of some other ways in which one could delegate with ease? Share your thoughts. I love learning from my readers. And please do share this science of influence.