Excerpt from Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey.
Delegation is the best way to build a business bigger than you.
Beginning leaders always ask me about how they can properly delegate. As a young owner I wanted to hire people quickly and have them carry out tasks and goals that I didn’t want to fool with. I wanted people to read my mind and do things I didn’t like doing. Delegation may be the most misunderstood and abused subject area of leadership. When you delegate to someone improperly you will make a huge mess and add more drama to your life than you can stand. But when you properly prepare your organization’s culture, hire and keep only the right people, build unity and loyalty, recognize achievement, and creatively compensate, then delegation will become the joy of your life.
Talent Is Not Enough
Delegating to broken people in a broken culture simply won’t work, no matter how talented they are. Leaders can only delegate to someone to the extent the leader is mature and the team member is mature.
Build the Culture and the Team
The process of building a team and a culture in which delegation can be seamless is lengthy but rewarding. Delegation with little negative result takes a tremendous investment.
If you have a great culture, have a great hiring process, and are an accomplished EntreLeader, it still takes time to teach the new talent the core values and operating principles.
The Magic Formula
You were looking for the magic formula for how to delegate; here it is. Are you ready? In order for an EntreLeader to successfully delegate, they must come to trust the team members’ integrity and competency. Wise people trust other people with big important things only to the extent they have spent time with them. The more important the delegation, the more time you will need to spend making sure the person gets it.
You can only delegate important, complicated tasks to someone to the degree you trust their integrity. That is why I will spend zero time trying to redeem a team member who steals; I just fire them instantly. Once they steal I can’t trust them with anything. That is why I will instantly fire a team member who has an extramarital affair. If their spouse can’t trust them, there is no way I can. Trust for the purpose of culture and delegation is essential.
You can’t delegate to someone until you trust their competency. And there is no better way to trust their competency than to walk with them as they display their knowledge and abilities. For someone on your team to be competent they have to have the ability not only to do the task, but to do the task within your culture.
Levels of Delegation
The most basic level of delegation is gofer-level delegation. People who are told to “go for this” or “go for that” are in a gofer position.
At the complete other end of the spectrum from gofers is management-level delegation. At this level of delegation you are not delegating tasks; you are delegating concepts that imply tasks, maybe thousands of tasks.
Micromanagers are leaders who never delegate well. They are, at best, bad bosses. A micromanager is a person who does not have enough self-confidence to release tasks or concepts when integrity and competency have been proven repeatedly. Micromanagers are either control freaks or they have very low emotional maturity.
The rule is, never give someone responsibility without the authority to perform. Titles don’t make leaders, and if you give someone the title and hold them to the results you must also give them the authority to act.
For more on achieving success with your team: