Delegating and Then Letting Go on a Virtual Team
Delegation is important for any leader managing a team but vital for a virtual team leader who has to trust her team members to get the job done without much oversight. Use the following strategies to delegate to your team members so they can accomplish more on your virtual team:
- Analyze your tasks and decide what to delegate and what only you can do. Outline the tasks that you currently handle and decide which ones can’t be delegated. Examples may include hiring and firing decisions, promotions, pay raises, goal setting, feedback, purchasing approvals, and so on. Everything else is something you can let go.
- Communicate a clear vision of the desired end result. After you identify what to delegate, define what the goal looks like and how you’ll know when it’s been achieved.
- Select the right people for the job. Analyze the skill and willingness of your team to determine who to delegate to. You may find that some people will need more direction up front than others, but with your coaching they may improve their ability to carry out future delegated tasks unassisted.
- Delegate the whole enchilada. Don’t just hand out pieces of a project. People get pleasure from seeing a task to completion, and the final result will likely end up being of consistent quality if one person completes it.
- Explain why the task is important and the results expected including deadlines, progress reports, resources to use, and so on. Team members need to understand the why behind any delegated task to provide it context, meaning, and importance. This is also the time to discuss the end goal and any important steps or tools they need to use to get there.
- Check for clarity and understanding. Ask team members to summarize the task responsibility in their own words. This will help you to ensure they know what to do.
- Be available during agreed-upon times to provide feedback and assess progress. Provide support and coaching as needed.
- Hold people accountable to the agreed-upon results. Check in regularly to see how they are doing with the delegated task and if they are meeting their goals.
- Give recognition for a job well done so that your team feels confident being delegated to in the future. Do this in a team meeting so other team members hear it. Giving recognition builds confidence and event excitement for future delegated tasks.
- Trust in the process you have established. Don’t be afraid of mistakes; they’re learning opportunities for the future.
Discovering how to delegate effectively takes practice. Delegating will help your virtual team to build trust, deepen commitment levels, and encourage your employees to try something new.