An essential part of being a leader is knowing how and when to delegate tasks to co-workers, direct reports, and other team members. The best leaders use delegation to be more efficient, increase team productivity and confidence, and give team members professional development opportunities. While delegating work is a sign of a good leader, how can you remain accountable when assigning responsibility to someone else?
We recently asked our leading executives for their expert advice on how to delegate while remaining accountable.
Here are their responses...
Michael Willis, Sports Business Operations Executive
As an executive, I always take the position that I am responsible for anything that happens, good or bad, in my operations. I am responsible for the outcome.
Unlike authority and responsibility, accountability cannot be delegated. I own accountability.
Itâs my responsibility to build a team that can achieve the deliverables. My job as a leader is to ensure that the right people are in the right place.
I am responsible for each team member being equipped with the technical knowledge to perform to their full potential. But more importantly, leadership must let the team know why the task matters and how they fit into the big picture. The team needs to know whatâs at stake.
As the companyâs mission, goals, and competitors change, leadership is tasked to make the necessary adjustments to ensure the team can pivot to meet upcoming challenges.
Lastly, the teamâs leader inspires the commitment of the team. People get excited about whatâs possible but commit only when they understand their role in meeting challenges.
Michael Willis has 18+ years of experience working with accounting & sports organizations and has managed P&Ls of $10M - $125M+ with budgets of $3M-$50M+. He worked for the NFL for 22 1/2 years, mainly with the game officials working on the financial/accounting side of the business.
Ana Smith, Talent Architect & Global Learning Strategist
Delegation is the act of entrusting tasks or responsibilities to others while still retaining ultimate accountability for the outcome. An effective delegation is a powerful tool for leaders as it helps to increase productivity, build trust among team members, and allows leaders to focus on higher-level tasks.
One critical aspect of delegation is ensuring that the delegated task is clearly defined. This means being specific about what needs to be done, the deadline for completion, and the desired outcome. When the person taking on the task fully understands what is expected of them, they are more likely to succeed, and there is less risk of misunderstandings or delays.
Choosing the right person to delegate the task to is also essential. It's important to consider the skills and experience required to complete the task successfully. When delegating tasks, choose someone who has the necessary skills and experience, which will increase the chances of a positive outcome and minimize the risk of errors or delays.
Providing the necessary resources is another crucial aspect of delegation. Leaders must ensure that the person taking on the task has access to all the resources they need to complete the task successfully. This could include information, tools, equipment, or budget.
Regular check-ins are also essential to ensure that the task is on track and that any issues are addressed promptly. Even if leaders trust the person taking on the task, it's important to set up regular check-ins to monitor progress and offer support if needed.
Leaders must also hold themselves accountable for the success or failure of the delegated task. As the leader, they are ultimately responsible for the outcome, and they must be ready to take responsibility and provide support if things don't go as planned.
Finally, learning from mistakes is essential when things don't go as planned. Leaders should take the opportunity to analyze what went wrong and identify ways to improve the delegation process for next time. By doing this, they can improve the effectiveness of their delegation skills and, ultimately, lead to better results for the organization as a whole.
In summary, effective delegation requires clear communication, careful selection of the right person, provision of necessary resources, regular check-ins, accountability, and learning from mistakes. By following these guidelines, leaders can delegate tasks effectively while still remaining accountable for the outcomes.
Ana Smith helps people & organizations achieve their full talent potential by developing and co-creating people strategies and customized solutions, and turning them into impactful outcomes and collaborative relationships, using coaching as the "red thread."
Lisa Perry, Global Marketing Executive
Delegating tasks to others is an essential skill for leaders, but it's important to do so in a way that ensures accountability for the ultimate outcome. Here are some tips on how to delegate while remaining accountable:
- Clearly define the task: Ensure that the person you are delegating to understands exactly what needs to be done, the desired outcome, and any relevant deadlines. This will help to avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
- Assign responsibility: Make sure the person you delegate the task to has the necessary resources, responsibility, and support to accomplish the task. This includes any training, equipment, or other resources that may be needed.
- Set checkpoints: Establish regular checkpoints to review progress and make adjustments as necessary. This helps to ensure that the task stays on track and that any issues or concerns can be addressed in a timely manner.
- Provide feedback: Provide regular feedback to the person you delegated the task to, both positive and constructive, to help them improve their performance and ensure that the task is completed successfully.
- Monitor progress: Keep an eye on progress and be prepared to step in and provide additional support or guidance if needed. This will help to ensure that the task is completed successfully and that any issues or challenges are addressed in a timely manner.
- Take ultimate responsibility: Ultimately, as the leader, you are responsible for the outcome of any tasks you delegate. It's important to take ownership of this responsibility and ensure that the task is completed successfully, even if you are not directly involved in the execution.
By following these tips, you can delegate tasks effectively while remaining accountable for the outcome. This not only helps to ensure successful outcomes but also helps to build trust and confidence in your leadership among your team members.
Lisa Perry helps companies build leadership brands, driving loyal customers & delivering profitability. She does this through a process that builds brands consumers love. Her goal is to help companies develop, monetize, and grow their brands.
How do you delegate while remaining accountable? Join the conversation inside Work It Daily's Executive Program.