Issue No. 273 of Your Weekly Staff Meeting highlights a remarkable audio CD on effective delegation. (Alert! Your team has both readers and listeners—so bless your listeners this week.) Plus, this reminder: check out my Management Buckets website with dozens of resources and downloadable worksheets for your staff meetings.
You May Be Seriously Overpaid!
Alec Mackenzie, the time management guru, has an Effective Delegation Quiz for you—and if you fail the quiz—he says you may be seriously overpaid!
Ten Delegation Questions:
1. Do you take work home regularly?
2. Do you work longer hours than your subordinates?
3. Do you spend time doing for others what they could be doing for themselves?
4. When you return from an absence from the office, do you find the in-basket too full?
5. Are you still handling activities and problems you had before your last promotion?
6. Are you often interrupted with queries or requests on on-going projects or assignments?
7. Do you spend time on routine details that others could handle?
8. Do you like to keep a finger in every pie?
9. Do you rush to meet deadlines?
10. Are you unable to keep on top of your priorities?
How many questions were YES?
0 to 1: You are an excellent delegator!
2 to 4: You can improve.
5 to 6: You have a serious delegation problem.
7 to 10: You are undoubtedly doing much of your subordinates’ work and may be seriously overpaid!
39 Minutes of Delegation Wisdom! Scratch the agenda for your next staff or department meeting, order the pizza, and treat your team to this delicious delegation masterpiece! Alex Mackenzie’s 39-minute audio CD, How to Delegate, will revolutionize your leadership and (honest) could transform your team’s professional development. And…your morale will skyrocket.
Those are bold claims, but I’ve listened to this CD twice recently—and I’ll listen to it again yet this year. Like last issue’s book, The Decision Maker, this resource is also a gut check. Mackenzie explains why:
• “Fifty percent of the tasks littering the desks of most managers today could have been delegated in the first place to someone else.”
• “The person who cannot delegate, cannot manage.”
“Management and delegation
are virtually synonymous.”
• “Somehow executives at the top live in a dream world of their own. They are convinced that the success of that organization is because of what they are doing, not in spite of it.”
• “Decisions should always be made at the lowest possible level.”
Author of The Time Trap: The Classic Book on Time Management, Alec Mackenzie was also co-author with Ted W. Engstrom of Managing Your Time. Not every author has the chops to write and speak persuasively—and change your thinking in just 39 minutes. Mackenzie does.
In this hold-your-attention audio interview format, Mackenzie addresses the common barriers to delegation, such as confusion about priorities and what he calls “the destruction of morale,” where leaders must use authority instead of persuasion. When that happens, all loyalty to the organization and the leader is sadly lost.
• If you’re not delegating, your people are not learning anything and they will never progress.
• The failure to delegate destroys the atmosphere of confidence in your team.
• The symptoms of “broken morale” include blaming the messenger and fear about delivering bad news to the boss.
• “Never hide an elephant!”
As we discussed in the review of The Decision Maker (which is a revolutionary approach to delegation), perhaps the most powerful tool for developing people is to delegate decision-making to them.
This 39-minute pleasantly paced mixture of stories and problem-solving principles will challenge even the best note-taker. You’ll snicker at the senior leader in the 30,000-employee organization that brought his boss a 57-item agenda! The boss was working 70 hours a week—and Mackenzie’s decision matrix system saved his career.
Mackenzie warns that team members will pay lip service to obeisance, but when the decisions have already been made higher up, you’ll only get concession and acquiescence, never commitment.
But isn’t it risky to push decision-making down? “Of course it’s risky,” Mackenzie laughs, “that’s the whole idea!” You want boat-rockers and mistake-makers in your organization. “Only dead fish float down stream,” he responds.
Look for opportunities to affirm people who make mistakes. If someone announces, “I haven’t made a mistake that I can think of in the past month,” then ask about the last six months.
Still no mistakes?
Then “fire him,”
Another story will raise your eyebrows! Mackenzie salutes a division manager of the world’s largest sugar company, a primo delegator, who made just four or five decisions a year. His direct reports were so well coached that when the division head slipped into inappropriate decision-making, his people would call him on it!
Mackenzie’s insights on the sin of “reverse delegation” are eye-opening. (We’ve all been victims, right?) Like the business leader who accepted the helm of a government agency with 500,000 employees. He kept a rubber stamp at his desk which he used frequently on incoming low-level stuff, returning it with:
“WHY ARE YOU
SENDING THIS TO ME?”
And…the leader who regularly rejected reverse delegation by quietly pointing to the framed acronym (DBMP-BMA) on his wall, short for “Don’t bring me problems, bring me answers.”
The hero syndrome discussion might also sting: “Managers have perfected the art of massaging problems into crises so they can move in on a regular basis and be a hero.”
This CD is so convicting, Mackenzie could have given an altar call and invited fumbling delegators to come forward for confession. He wraps it up with an eight-point delegation checklist including: “Give clear, complete instructions. Never delegate with a mumble!” and “Select, train, and develop competent staff. Don’t select people for the present job, but select them for the future,” what you'll need from them in 3 to 5 years.
To order this 39-minute CD from Amazon, click on the graphic below for How to Delegate, by Alec Mackenzie.
Your Weekly Staff Meeting Questions:
1) Mackenzie preaches, “Do nothing that you can delegate.” But…what if you don’t have anyone to delegate to? Any ideas? (Hint: read the Delegation Bucket chapter in my book.)
2) The #1 time-waster, says Mackenzie, is a lack of objectives, priorities and planning. Pop Quiz! Everyone stand and answer this question: “What is your supervisor’s #1 S.M.A.R.T. goal for this year? Extra credit: List our CEO’s Top-5 Annual S.M.A.R.T. goals.
Delegate to Strengths! Insights from Mastering the Management Buckets: 20 Critical Competencies for Leading Your Business or Nonprofit
Speaking of delegation, one of the big ideas in Chapter 9, The Team Bucket, in my book, Mastering the Management Buckets, is to delegate to strengths.
The Gallup Organization’s StrengthsFinder assessment identifies your Top-5 strengths (out of 34 talent themes). So how would you delegate to a person whose top strength is CONTEXT? (This person “looks back because that is where the answers lie.”)
How would you delegate (and bless) a team member whose top strength is ANALYTICAL? (“Prove it. Show me why what you are claiming is true.”)
For more resources and books on leveraging your team’s strengths (with an eye toward effective delegation), visit the Team Bucket webpage. And for resources on delegation, including the brilliant Ken Blanchard book, The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey, visit the Delegation Bucket webpage.