The Art of Scaling Questions

PROGRESS!

It’s been quite a journey of delegation! We looked at a number of reasons why we don’t delegate. And, we addressed what we will do after we delegate, overcoming the fears of imperfection, and what to do when we feel like we don’t have time to delegate.

Last week we explored the strategy on how to increase what we do by 10x or over 100%. So, did you think about what it is you want to increase?

Sometimes, when there is a goal we want to reach it is difficult to know the steps needed to get there.

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng Chin, a leadership and development Coach, suggested using “progressive delegation” and “scaling questions” to work up to the desired goal.

To start with scaling questions, imagine a scale from 0- 10, 10 being where you are a delegating rockstar. Identify where you currently are on the scale.

Got your number? Ok – now answer these questions:

  • What did you do to get from 0 to where you are at now?
  • What have you done that has worked well?
  • Where do you want to get to?
  • What does reaching that goal mean or look like to you?
  • What is one small step you can take that will bring you closer to your goal?

Using these questions gives you a clear look at where you are starting, where you have come from, and gives you some manageable ideas on steps that you can take to achieve your goal.

This week, let’s think about where we want to increase by 10X using the scaling questions above!

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I Just Don’t Have Time!

Even if you are not usually a list-loving person, the chances are, with all that’s on your plate – you have lots of lists.

And, adding something – anything – to that list just makes it feel even more impossible to get everything done.

When we heard from Lisa Harper, an executive Coach for over 20 years, she said that one reason we don’t delegate is because, “we feel we don’t have time to explain the project or task and we think it’s easier to just do it ourselves, not thinking about the long term impact this can have”.

Ringing a (rather loud) bell?

Here’s what she suggests:

Lisa HarperConsider the long term benefits of delegation versus the small amount of time invested to delegate a task.  Is it more productive to spend a little time now teaching someone else how to do something or continue to do it yourself?

Understand that one of the key responsibilities for managers is the building of their talent bench. Your employees deserve work that challenges and stretches their capabilities.  Delegating interesting projects and tasks is a way to do that.  

Remember that a lack of delegation can translate into unmotivated employees resulting in turnover which is expensive and even more time-consuming.

Many of my clients tell me their manager wants them to be more strategic.  Use this time to focus on the higher level goals of your business, team or work group.”

Wow! Thanks, Lisa!

Take a look at the week ahead and all you have to accomplish.

Even though finding the time to train someone on the new task may seem impossible, consider Lisa’s suggestions above and think about the long-term benefits of you delegating a task next week!

Do You Really Want to Delegate?

Ok – let’s take a step back for a moment.

We’ve been talking about delegation for a couple of weeks now. There have been different tips on how to delegate and different insights on why we don’t delegate.

I think it’s time we ask ourselves a different question… do you actually want to delegate?

Let’s not just take the easy answer and say, “Yes, of course I do. All great managers delegate”.

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng Chin, a leadership and development Coach located in Singapore, said a couple of weeks ago that one of the reasons we don’t delegate is “perhaps an unwillingness or lack of know-how”. He went on to elaborate that, “there has to be a willingness or motivation or compelling need to want to delegate.”

We know great managers delegate but sometimes it feels easier to stay “safe” in our busy work box and not delegate. If that is the case, all the knowledge won’t help us.

Chances are, if we aren’t delegating then we are probably overworked and a little (or a lot) stressed. This will affect our quality of work, our attitude, and the attitude of our team.

Let’s be real this week and think about if we actually want to delegate.

Knowing exactly where we are in this journey is key to knowing where we need to go.

(Im) Perfect

I know, I know… just the title makes you cringe.

And, if I’m honest, it makes me cringe too. You mean something may not be perfect? Not on my watch!

What have you done to make sure that it is true? Everything. Literally… everything.

And, how do you feel? Overworked. Stressed. Exhausted. The list goes on.

We heard from Trish Brooks, a couple of weeks ago about the concept that “we don’t delegate because of a fear that the employee may not meet our (sometimes perfectionist) standards.”

So, Trish, how would you recommend working past this fear?

First, connect with a time when you were given the responsibility for a project that was slightly over your head.

Think about how great the learning was, how engaged you were, how grateful you were for the trust of your boss.

Remember that you were successful!

Are you willing to give that same gift to your employees?

Your role as a people leader is to lead the people first (not the product – the product work will be good if you lead the people).

Developing people is a huge part of your role; one of the most important parts!

Take a moment to let those last two lines sink in… maybe even read them one more time.

When we think about delegating a task in terms of giving the gift of developing the people around us, it creates different perspective.

Choose one direct report who you would like to begin (or continue!) developing.

Now, look at your workload and choose one task that you can [deep breath] delegate to that person.

Why Don’t We Delegate?

So, how did delegating the task go this week? Did you do it?

Or – did you think about delegating and then for some reason decide not to?

We all know we could delegate better, but many times we don’t know why we are not.

We asked four expert Coaches from Singapore, Canada, and the United States to summarize in one sentence why we don’t delegate.

Before we hear their responses- let’s meet each Coach!

Comparison Coach Bios

So, y’all… Why don’t we delegate?

Jennifer JonesJennifer:  If I delegate my duties to my team, what will I do; how will I add value and contribute?

 

 

 

Trish BrooksTrish:  Often people don’t delegate because they are afraid of the risk of the outcome if the employee doesn’t meet their (sometimes perfectionist) standards.

 

 

Lisa:Lisa Harper They feel they don’t have time to explain the project or task and they think it’s easier to just do it themselves, not thinking about the long term impact this can have.

 

 

Tze Meng ChinTze Meng: It is challenging to answer this question in ONE sentence. To generalize, perhaps its unwillingness or lack of know-how. The former is more challenging.

 

 

 

Does one of the above reasons strike a chord with you? Or maybe it sparks another thought on why you are not delegating as often as you can be.

Knowing reasons why we don’t do something is a great starting point.

In the coming weeks, we will be going a more in depth about what we can do to combat the reasons above.

Until then, try the exercise we did! Write down one reason that may be holding you back in delegating.

 

It’s as Easy as 1, 2, 3…

You can’t get everything done that you need to and you have a team for a reason- so, you delegate.

We’ve all heard the word…we all know what it means.

So, how do you do it? It’s easy as 1, 2, 3:

Step 1. Decide what you will delegate.

Look at all the work you have and separate out the tasks that only you can do with the tasks that others can do as well.

Step 2. Determine clear expectations and tangible results.

Sit down with your direct report and explain what they will be doing and your expectations for how the task gets done and when it is to be competed by.

Step 3. Monitor results.

Schedule a follow-up meeting to ensure the task has been completed, review how completing the task went, and answer any questions.

It’s that easy, right? … YEAH, RIGHT!!

If delegation really was as easy as A, B, C – we would all be doing it flawlessly. And, there would be no reason for hundreds of books, articles, and trainings on the art of delegation.

Over the next weeks we will be digging through what holds us back from delegating and what we can do to overcome those things.

Between now and then- think about one task you can delegate. And, try it!

Learning to Let Go

Learning to Let Go

Missing the ‘balance’ in your work/life balance? Chances are you’re not delegating effectively. If you manage this way repeatedly, you’re setting yourself up to be overworked and resentful of the employees you have working for you. Delegation not only shifts some of the work to your staff, but most importantly, helps employees learn.

Read more about delegation in HBR’s article by Amy Gallo ‘Why Aren’t you Delegating?’