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You might have expected Dr Covey to put his musings on Delegation into a later Habit, but he considered that as the act of delegation was a management function and within the Circle of Influence of the individual, there was good reason to include its operation under Habit 3.

He used the mnemonic DR GRAC as guidance for effective delegation, and here it is:

DR = Desired Result. When delegating responsibilities to another they need to know, clearly, what the intended outcome actually is. Just as goal setters are familiar with the acronym SMART and what the M means, delegators need to be just as specific with the action to be delegated. What is expected, by when.

G = Guidance. Delegation isn’t ‘so this, do that’. That’s just ordering. Delegation is passing responsibility for an outcome to another. Therefore they may need to know what the legalities, pitfalls, prior experience, etc, have to offer in terms of what methods can’t be used, what methods shouldn’t be used (there is a difference), and which may be used – but allowing the delegate to use their initiative within those boundaries.

R = Resources. What is available to the delegate – money, people, equipment.

A = Accountability. Who do they report to, how often, about what? What standard is expected? The delegate is responsible for the result, but accountable to you.

C = Consequences. What are the results of a good job, and what are the consequences of failure? Good and bad consequences – and anything in between – should be made known in advance so that the delegate is clear on them – and can arguably decline the work if necessary and/or permitted.

Delegation should be adapted to the capabilities of the individual – it should stretch but never break them.

Delegation is the responsibility of a manager, and it communicates trust to the delegate. Trust, according to Dr Covey, is the psychological ‘air’ for the individual. It communicates worth to the person being asked to take on the responsibility. Trust is in Quadrant B (or QII to use the correct term), in that it prevents crises and trains the delegate for better, later work.

Delegation is also leverage, in the sense that by delegating work a manager frees up time for their own work. Instead of their input equalling their output, they ‘double’ the output through delegation. They engender initiative and creativity in their team members. They essentially synergise, where 1 + 1= 3 or more – but that’s for another day.

Next we move to Public Victory Habits. But before that, the Emotional Bank Account. Consider the EBA to be like any other financial account. You make deposits when you do ‘nice’ to people, you make withdrawals when you do ‘less nice’. The more ‘nice’ you do, the more interest you build up so that when you have to do ‘less nice’ – it happens – you stay in the black. If you do ‘really bad’, you go into the red and effectively bankrupt yourself with the individual concerned. Make deposits such as clarifying expectations, listening, apologising sincerely, keeping commitments, understanding the individual from their frame of reference (not yours), attending to the little things and, perhaps above all, showing personal integrity so that people can rely on you to be you all of the time.

Make deposits sincerely – manipulation is a withdrawal and sours any future deposits.

Next Habit 4 – Think Win/Win.