• Brooke Simmons

How to Delegate with Delegation Levels

Updated: Jun 18, 2019

Can I ask you a question? How well and how often are you delegating work? (Ok. Two questions…err…three).

If you are feeling overwhelmed, bogged down, or have the feeling of “doing it all myself”, you probably either aren’t delegating work enough, well, or at all.

Which is ok. 

It’s challenging to let go of work, especially in your own business. Many of us struggle with this piece.

I want to challenge you this week to delegate one thing – and let’s use delegation levels to bring clarity to this exercise.

Delegation levels set parameters on how you will be delegating and help you and your team get clear on what is expected. It serves as a guideline for your communication as well as benchmarks as you move forward with your virtual team.

Create Your Own Delegation Levels in Your Business

Delegation levels are not a new concept. Many (including myself) use a 5-level hierarchy, while I heard some businesses have 7 or more. Let’s keep it simple. I want you to create your delegation levels system in your own business. You are free to use my system or tweak your own. Yes, you can customize this. But this creates a thought out plan to start moving stuff off your plate while allowing people to take on work, grow and possibly become a real asset to your team.

So what if you take 1 task, assign it a delegation level (from the criteria below) and delegate it out this week? You can do this with a new hire, your current virtual team, or on a case-by-case basis with multiple contractors. I also have a freebie for you below to help you out.

Here is the system that I use:

Level 1 – “I Instruct”.

This is the entry level, and although you may not start here with everyone, you will start here with some. (Skill, BTW may have nothing to do with starting someone here…if it is a brand new task for even the most accomplished team member, you may need to start here). Level 1 is when you have a clear plan of what needs to be done, you give clear instructions and possibly even do some training. They simply complete the task. At this level, check-in points and times are common to ensure that everyone is on the same page. It’s monitored (not micromanaged).

Level 2 – “I have a plan, but I’d like your suggestions”.

You know what and how you would like the task to be completed but are open to suggestions and different ideas from your team. You will still be making the decisions, and checking-in likely to ensure everyone is on the same page, but this is asking your team to contribute their own creativity to the task or project. This starts to grow confidence on both ends.

Level 3 – “I’d like for you to create the plan”.

You know what you want to happen, but perhaps you haven’t fully researched or thought out the details of it. This is where the sweet spot starts happening as you likely have someone who is forward thinking enough to do the digging for you and come back to you with a plan. You still will approve and/or tweak the plan and monitor things as they progress. Confidence builds here.

Level 4 – “I’d like for you to make decisions”.

This level involves a certain level of trust but it’s worth it. The team member will now develop the plan and make the decisions pertaining to the plan. You are still there for support if needed, but otherwise the task is delegated. They will also notify you what’s happening with tasks at certain intervals and keep you in the loop.

Level 5 – “I’d like for you to own this task”.

Level 5 is a complete delegation to your team. You are not involved in the aspects of the task. You trust them to take it on, follow through and get things done. They own it, are responsible for the success or failure of it and everyone is clear on this. They are the “manager” of this piece of the business.

Assigning a delegation level, partnered with deliberate communication (which I will write about next week, get your copy here), will help establish an effective delegation routine that will start creating the space in your business that you will need to grow and expand. You will want to track your delegation – and the results – so that you can get better and faster at assigning things to the right person.

Practice, darling, practice.

Some tasks may never get to a 4 or 5, and that’s ok. And tasks can probably get to 4 or 5 quite quickly with the right team member.

One word of caution for you: levels 1 and 2 are not “micromanagement” levels. They require a bit of overseeing, but you also need to toss a bit of trust in for good measure.

Micromanaging is not productive for anyone and the point here is to start creating space.

Micromanaging does the opposite.

As I mentioned, I like to keep track of who/what/how I am delegating.

Let me know how your delegation challenge this week worked out!

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