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The best lesson I learned about how to delegate well

The best lesson I learned about how to delegate well
Photo by Jason Goodman / Unsplash

After 14 years in the workforce, I still remember my journey from individual contributor to manager.

The most significant growth was learning how to go from doing the task myself to delegating the tasks to the team. My initial path to delegating was fraught with mistakes and frustration.

Fortunately, there was one lesson I learned about delegating that felt like the curtains were finally pulled back.

Introducing the Levels of Delegation

I learned this from Michael Hyatt, the founder of Full Focus Planner (FFP). Here they are as excerpted from the FFP blog:

Level 1: Do as I say. This means to do exactly what I have asked you to do. Don’t deviate from my instructions. I have already researched the options and determined what I want you to do.
Level 2: Research and report. This means researching the topic, gathering information, and reporting what you discover. We will discuss it, and then I will make the decision and tell you what I want you to do.
Level 3: Research and recommend. This means to research the topic, outline the options, and bring your best recommendation. Give me the pros and cons of each option, then tell me what you think we should do. If I agree with your decision, I will authorize you to move forward.
Level 4: Decide and inform. This means to make a decision and then tell me what you did. I trust you to do the research, make the best decision you can, and then keep me in the loop. I don’t want to be surprised by someone else.
Level 5: Act independently. This means to make whatever decision you think is best. No need to report back. I trust you completely. I know you will follow through. You have my full support.

Once I understood the levels of delegation, I was able to clarify and communicate expectations, which made for a happier and more productive team.