Situational Leadership | Delegate Style

Russell Potter
A free video tutorial from Russell Potter
25-Years of Leadership Development for Top Global Brands
4.6 instructor rating • 2 courses • 6,921 students

Lecture description

The delegate style in situational leadership must be used with caution, but it is also the style that can create breakthroughs in businesses and teams. In this lesson, learn how to use it professionally.

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09:03:53 of on-demand video • Updated July 2021

  • Management skills
  • Leadership skills
  • People management skills
English [Auto] OK now let's talk about the delegates style of leadership and the visual metaphor. Here is a father teaching his somehow to catch fish as the analogy goes. Give a man a fish and you can feed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you can feed him for a lifetime. You can imagine how powerful your team will become if they could all catch fish for themselves. Know the delegates style of leadership delivers just that and more now the delegates start as the ultimate staff teaching your team to take full responsibility and it requires you to use your coaching skills to be effective in the most important difference between the leadership styles. Is that where you use the delegates. You give the choice on how the project or task is done over to the employee so they get to decide how the project or task is done. In all of the other styles you decide how the project or title should be done. Even after giving the team full participation with the delegates staff they get to decide how the project or task is done. You simply specify what outcome you want. The essential parameters are things like the budget time frame and of course the context. Now clearly state is too because this is very very important. You never lose control of the project if you're not happy with the direction that the project is taking. You simply coach the employee back to the right path and importantly we build in some key steps into the structure of the delegates style to ensure that you never ever lose control and that all expectations are met. This is very very important for this reason. We only ever delegates projects that are not business critical not urgent a must have a long lead in time. I cannot stress those two points enough you never delegates a project that is business critical. The reason is is that if it's related to business continuity in the business is relying on us you can't use projects or tasks as developmental exercises that could potentially lead to the bankruptcy of the company. This does happen so be very very careful. Never ever delegate a business critical task that's something that you have to do yourself and you never delegate tasks that are urgent. A must have a long lead in time. So in accordance with the graph we only delegate to high readiness meaning people with the experience skill and maturity to do the task without close supervision. People with high readiness know it's important to get this right because if you get this wrong and the project fails the employee becomes the motivator to become disheartened but then also stop trusting you and the business can potentially be damaged too. It really happens. I was brought in to a hospitality business years ago which had a very smart and ambitious senior management team and I was brought in by the owner and the reason I was brought in was because there had been a loss of trust between the senior management team and the owner of the business. Here's what happened. The owner of the business had requested the senior management team to come up with Project plans to refit one of the restaurants owned by the company. Now the young very talented team had gone away and they did come up with detailed plans on how to refit the restaurant what it would look like. Details for the chairs they should buy the table they should buy the kitchen recrimination by the designs. The whole thing taken them three months to do this. It taken a very hands off approach to this. He had basically delegated the project to the team and said come back to me whenever it's finished. And that was three months later. Unfortunately when the team came back three months later with the plans it was way off of his expectations. He could not pull the trigger on this project. He would not commit funds to this project because he was so far off expectations. But fortunately as you can imagine this had devastated the team. They had spent three months blood sweat and tears coming up with this plan. The heart was into this plan. This is not what he wanted and he had asked them to start again. That's where I bought it. As you can imagine trust was completely obliterated between the owner and that team. And in all honesty it never really turned. So let's look at how to use the delegates so you can avoid that happily and which two steps would have avoided this problem in the first place. Now I imagine many of you are asking yourself right now why would I use the delegates given all the risks. Why would I use the delegates dark now. Firstly in truth you rarely use this stuff. You rarely use the delegates but if you're career minded which I'm guessing that you are. I want you to understand that you will never be promoted to more senior positions within your company until there is somebody in your team who can take your job. Now I have no doubt that you personally are technically excellent at what you do. Be it sales marketing operations but organizations don't like to change these balances and they don't like to take risks with business continuity simply for your career ambitions now you must have someone in place to take your role or you simply will not be known to the next level. How. Now there's a simple method for delegating which expands on the other styles of leadership. As with the other staff first you're going to give the context so that's how it's aligned with the customer. Mission Vision embodies for the organization. Then of course you'll give them the details of the problem or the project what outcome you want. And of course the deadline and any other constraints budgetary constraints may be what you'll also do with this style is you will tell the employee why you chose them personally for the project. It's important that the employee starts with some confidence before they do the project. So you want to tell them why you chose them. The critical two steps that you must get in is first of all you want to tell the employee that you want them to come back to you with a rough sketch or a rough plan on how they will approach the project within the next 48 hours next critical step is that you'll tell them that you'll meet every week for a project update then a 48 hour check is key because it checks that the employee fully understands the scope of the project and that what they're going to do is within expectations the weekly check in is simply to offer support and coaching and again make sure that expectations are being met and everything's on track. Remember you already know how to do the project you're delegating this is a developmental opportunity for the employee now it seems so simple but I've got to tell you that nearly all managers that I've worked with over the years fail to keep track adequately during the delegation process when they're delegating a project I mean they often wait a week or two before the deadline and they're checking on progress and if they're not happy at that point if they worry that the deadline won't be met then they're likely to take the project back. That is an avoidable problem. As I mentioned how the project is done is up to the employee and you need to coach the employee through the project are you. Don't give them the solution. You're just going to ask open questions to challenge and guide the employees. The solution will by themselves. Now this is both the most difficult but by far the most valuable skill that any manager can possess. So let me demonstrate OK so let's demonstrate now. The delegates style delegates style you won't use it so often. The reason is is that it requires a long lead in time and it cannot be business critical and you will only delegates people who have high readiness like a high readiness that's very very points. So let me demonstrate how it's done and you'll understand why. So of course he's. I have a project for you and I love his own this project. As you know the company wants to reach out to FMC G companies and increase our sales in that area. So the next year we protected against a possible recession because many analysts are saying there might be a recession next year. So I want you to increase sales in FMC G. I want you to increase sales in that area. Now this is your project. I'm going to give this to you. You don't have to answer me right now about how you do this but how you do this project is up to you. Okay. All right. This is your chance to shine. It is just the right stage in your career to take this one on. I've got a lot of belief and faith that you can pull this off. How you do it's up to you. All right. But what I wanted to do is I want you to come back to me in 48 hours two days with a plan on how you're going to approach this project just the steps that you're going to follow and how you approach this project and then from then on we will meet every week. All right. So we have. I'll give you as much support as you need. Of course come back to me and tell me what resources you need or budget you need and so forth and then we'll meet every week to make sure we're on track and that that can help you to succeed in this project that is so good. That sounds perfect. Yeah. Fantastic. Excellent. Okay. Come back to me in two days with that plan. Any questions you got of course. Come back to me in the meantime. The delegates. Obviously reality would have given a lot more detail on what outcome I want from that particular project. But do you understand the idea the idea is is that I don't dictate how the project is done. I don't. I don't lose control because it comes back to me in two days time with the plan that we made every week about how the project has done is obstacles Kasab here is up to him how he does it. So of course he's very motivating for him. It's a stretch for him it's a development opportunity for him and the delegates style is a very powerful development tool and leadership style that's in your arsenal. That's one of those four leadership styles you got to choose from okay. Now it's your turn. Which situation i.e. the task and person combination do you currently have that is suitable for the delegates. Now I'd like you to practice on your own or with your practice partner using the delegates style. They use the exact words that you would use and remember to get in those two key steps. Remember to get in the 48 hour check. I mentioned that there will be a weekly update meeting pose the lesson well done. Now let's reflect how we delegates style help you to achieve your short term goal and your career goal so during the role play. What did you learn about using the delegates. What did you learn.