Remote work has made delegating more complicated for leaders accustomed to working from the office every day. Overwhelmed with more emails, more virtual meetings, and no face to face time, leaders are feeling alone with a constantly growing to-do list. Teammates want to help, but they might not know-how.
It is time for leaders to remember (or maybe learn!) how to delegate. As a young military officer, a senior officer described to me the Leadership Headlock, a simple method he used to delegate tasks quickly and effectively. He did not overthink it, so why should we? Here we go:
First, identify who is responsible for the task you are about to delegate. Say their name and speak directly to them. Whether over the phone, video conference, or email, there should be no question as to who you are addressing.
“This is what I need you to do and why.”
Next, clearly and concisely explain what it is that needs to be accomplished and why — task and purpose. Be specific about your expectations and desired outcomes. List your non-negotiables, or things that will and will not happen in the execution of the task. Provide them the appropriate level of decision-making authority to execute the task. Explain clearly when your authority is required to make certain decisions (i.e. budget increase) and when you need to be made aware of certain events (i.e. level of visibility, delays).
“This is when I need it done by.”
Very simple — tell them when you expect the task to be accomplished.
“Got it, John?”
Lastly, ask them if they “got it”, saying their name and speaking directly to them.
The Leadership Headlock — calling out the responsible party, explaining what needs to be done and why, dictating when it needs to be done by, and positively verifying that the responsible party has the task.
Now get out there and start delegating!