The Art Of Allowing

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Delegation is the art of allowing your team members to finish tasks, own responsibility, perform at their peak and showcase their talents.

Micromanaging and not effectively delegating pop up in majority of 360-degree feedback reports that I have administered to leaders. I recently worked with a leader (let’s call him Mr Khan) to get anonymous feedback from his direct reports and peers. Lack of delegation skills, not allowing his direct reports to shine came as the common feedback point.

Initially Khan was shocked to know what people thought about him. According to him he was delegating tasks well and allowing his team to showcase their work. He was puzzled and wasn’t able to understand how else he can delegate. When a leader improves his/her leadership attributes – it’s crucial to focus on changing behavior as well as perception of his team members. This is the corner stone of Marshall Goldsmith’s coaching methodology.

I sat with Khan and discussed the two questions he would ask all of his direct reports (in One-on-One meetings) to understand and change his behavior. Khan agreed to intently listen to their answers and not make any judgment or challenge their viewpoints. The goal was to understand his team’s thinking and decide later what to change. He also wrote their answers in a notepad for future review and reference.

  1. In what areas you want me to involve more and give you a helping hand?
  2. In what areas you want me to involve less and STOP poking my nose?

Last week Khan met all his direct reports to get answers to the above questions. Their answers gave him a new perspective about delegation and ownership of tasks. It’s important to know their perception about Khan and his style of delegation. Currently he is focused on changing his behaviors and allowing his leaders to shine and own.

The crux of Marshall’s process is monthly ‘follow-up’ meetings with key stakeholders. Khan is committed to meet his direct reports every month for 5-10 minutes to check on his progress and garner more ideas to become better in delegation.

After 6 months, we plan to do an anonymous mini-survey on Khan’s behavioral changes with his direct reports to measure the progress of change and follow-up meetings. With Marshall’s framework, behavioral change is guaranteed and measurable!!!!

Are you having challenges with delegation?

Do your direct reports think you are micromanaging?

Is it difficult for you to trust people and give ownership of tasks?

To start the process of change, sit with your team, review the above 2 questions, listen to them and consciously commit to change. More importantly, commit to have a monthly follow-up meeting with them to understand your progress. All the best!

PS : I acknowledge the picture from the net.

The Energy of Synergy in a TEAM

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TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More

I was on a leisure walk this morning at our apartment complex with my son Samyak. We went near the basketball court and saw two teams playing a practice game. Most of the players were under 15 and they were totally focused on winning the match and defeating the opponent team. It was fascinating to see these kids trying to single-handedly run to the other side of the court and dunk the ball in the basket and score a point. The Coach was continuously screaming and shouting the key words – “pass the ball and move in” to remind them to work as a team and take the ball to the opposite side for scoring.

Most players ignored his game plan and continued to play in their own style to get individual glory and score a point. As an outsider watching this game in a non-judgmental way, it was obvious to me that both teams weren’t getting results that they desperately wanted.

The quest for personal achievement and working as a lone warrior is the major cause of a team’s ineffectiveness. Focusing on individual goals will alienate the team members from the team goal.  Right from our birth until we finish our professional education, the focus is on ‘competing with others’, not ‘completing each other’. After we get into the corporate or business world, all of us need to go through the process of unlearning and that’s an onerous journey!

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I wish there was a deliberate effort by educational institutions to inculcate the philosophy team work in schools, colleges and professional courses. Understanding the power of synergy that comes from leveraging individual strengths is phenomenal. Practicing this understanding is the key to success when we work as a team.

When we are working as a team towards a common purpose, let’s remind ourselves to be focused on our team goal and leverage the energy of synergy!

PS : I acknowledge the pictures from the internet.