Good Delegation: Critical to Employee Engagement

The act of delegating is one of the most crucial times in the relationship between a leader and a member of his/her team. This conversation is rife with underlying nuances:

  • Are you a collaborative leader or a dictator?
  • Do you have confidence that your team member knows what s/he’s doing?
  • Do you trust this team member to get it done on time and as agreed?
  • Do you like or only tolerate each other?
  • Will this go smoothly or can you expect problems?

All of the above are many of the reasons I devoted my first employee engagement book, The Incredibly Useful Book of Delegation to this very topic. The delegation conversation, if done well, goes a long way toward resolving any or all of the nuances outlined above.

Socratic Delegation is a process that takes both the guesswork and the tension out of this conversation. It flips it from, “Let me tell you what to do and how to do it,” to “Here’s what needs to be done and when. Walk me through how you think we should do this.” Simple, yet very powerful.

Using the Socratic Delegation Process goes a long way toward increasing employee engagement. In the old style of delegating, the person most engaged in the planning conversation was the leader. He gave instructions while the team member listened and maybe took notes. Socratic Delegation flips this around and has the team member strategize about how to accomplish the task. That means s/he becomes engaged in a way that the old style rarely elicited.

But don’t believe me. Try it for yourself! Get your own copy of the Step-by-Step Delegation Process by clicking one of the links below and start having collaborative conversations with your team. I predict that, not only will they become more engaged but productivity and accuracy will increase.

For Project Managers: Step-by-Step Socratic Delegation for Project Managers

For Leaders with direct reportsSocratic Delegation Step-by-Step for Leaders

Get a printable PDF of this article.

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