One of the most difficult decisions for successful leaders is delegating an important task. Once the leader finally decides what to delegate, they then need to decide how to delegate. When delegating, the leader can take a controlling or an empowering approach. Think empowerment.
Empowerment does not have to mean surrendering control. Effective, empowering leaders establish borders and boundaries around the delegated task. There are four areas to be established and communicated when empowering direct reports:
Specify restrictions (non-negotiables, budget, authority);
Define time frames (hours to dedicate, milestones, checkpoints/updates, completion date);
Identify available resources (people, information, training, processes).
Whether it’s empowering a direct report to purchase the organization’s next computer system or empowering them to plan the holiday party, leaders experience much more success when they and their direct report discuss the borders and boundaries associated with the delegated task rather than micro-managing all the details.