Skillset New Zealand Blog

Ideas to help your team develop personally and professionally.

Let’s say you have just delegated a task to Pete. You know he is capable and keen to do a good job. You also know that the last thing Pete needs is for you to micro-manage him. But you are experiencing some anxiety and you are unsettled by a feeling of not being in control.

How can you maintain a feeling of control without becoming a micro-manager?

It’s all about what you focus on when delegating.

It might seem that the best way to address a feeling of being out of control is to use more control. However, your feeling is a symptom, not a cause. The antidote is not more control. The antidote is to shift your focus from control to clarity and communication.

The power of clarity

Vagueness leads to uncertainty and a lack of confidence. If you are not sure what you expect from them, or what they expect from you, there is a high risk that you will feel out of control. To gain a sense of control you first need to focus on creating clarity.

Clarity comes from asking yourself the right questions:
  • Why delegate to this person?
  • Why delegate this task?
  • What do they need to deliver and by when?
  • To what standard/extent do they need to deliver?
  • What support and resources will they need?
  • Who will monitor progress and how?
  • When, how and why will we communicate?

The value of communicating well

Making sure you are clear about why and what you want to delegate is a good start, but good communication when delegating requires more than simply giving instructions. Discuss the why, what and how of the delegation with the person you are delegating to. Agree on how you will monitor progress and how, when and why you will communicate.

Clear expectations are vital

Check that you are both clear about expectations.

You won’t know unless you ask questions like: ‘It’s important that I make sure that I’ve been clear about my expectations. In your own words, what do you believe I’m expecting from you?’ (Notice how those words mean that you are responsible for the clarity.)

Focusing on clarity and communication will increase your own confidence and counter any tendency to micro-manage. By showing trust in their competence and letting them get on with the job you will also build better relationships with your staff and help them to be more engaged and productive.