The Delegation Process (v): Behaviours To Look For In The Delegatee
A 'good' delegatee will display the following 'positive' behaviours:
- Initiative - the delegatee needs to agree to take the initiative. Delegation is not a one-way process; as with all relationships, there needs to be input from both parties. Whilst the delegator will outline the current situation, it is up to the delegatee to question for clarity and to be sure that they fully understand the circumstances.
- Suggestions - It is fair to expect the delegatee to take responsibility for recommending outcomes rather than having them defined, and to produce a plan of action. The deadline may be arrived at by way of negotiation, assuming it is not predetermined by external factors.
- Openness and trust - You must expect an adequate level of openness and trust in your relationship with the delegatee. You must be open about the situation and trust that the delegatee is up to the task in hand. The delegatee must trust that you have been honest about the situation and be open about their thoughts and abilities. Relationships are risk-taking processes; if your openness and trust don't appear to be reciprocated, do not delegate to that person.
- Disagreement - A 'good' delegatee will feel able to disagree with the delegator about the realistic nature of the goals and whether they fit in with their own personal objectives. Effective delegation involves ensuring a degree of 'fit' between personal and organisational objectives.
- Self-development - An effective delegatee will be actively looking for development opportunities as well as actively seeking new assignments.
You should also be aware of two 'negative' behaviours that can occur during delegation:
- There can be a tendency for the delegator to interfere in the task when it is half-finished, or to stand at the shoulder of the delegatee.
- If the delegated task is problematic, the delegatee may turn to the delegator at every stage to check that they are carrying out the task correctly. It is much easier for the delegatee to ask for answers from the delegator. This must be discouraged. Unless the delegatee is prepared to take on the whole task and provide answers for the delegator, the contract is flawed and your delegation will cost you more than you can perhaps afford to 'pay'.