It’s always nice to delegate to those with deep experience, even though these people aren’t going to learn much from the task. More challenging is the ability to delegate to people who have never done this type of work before. That is the real nature of developing people. They are well educated, talented, intelligent and willing…they simply lack experience.
Therefore it is best to assume that they don’t really understand the relevance of the task at hand and how it connects to the Big Picture of the business. The wise manager always takes the time to explain the “why” of a task as the first step of delegating:
• Why we need this done
• Why it is important to our business
• Why it matters to their career
• Who will benefit
Failing to clarify the Big Picture, to “connect the dots” for a beginner is not only demotivating, it makes it very hard for them to feel that what they are doing is significant and meaningful. If you want a motivated learner, make sure they understand “why” the task is important. That way they will be able to sense their own importance in the larger scheme of things: they will feel actively engaged in the business instead of feeling like a robot.
4. Delegating Only Small, Trivial Tasks. Again, the principle of “situational leadership” applies: it is easier to delegate large projects to people who have already proven themselves competent. But…were they always so competent? At some point, their superiors took a risk on them and trusted them to take on a large chunk or responsibility…and they succeeded. Most likely, their supervisor was closely involved, checking-in regularly for trouble-shooting, counseling, encouraging, etc.
Or perhaps not. Perhaps they had to rely only on their own wits and figure it all out by themselves. That is known in the West as “the deep end of the pool.” I spent a lot of time at the deep end in my early days and I assure you it is a very painful place to swim! My managers were simply incompetent to provide the kind of support and coaching I desperately needed and wanted. Of course, they didn’t think their job was to develop people either.
My advice to aspiring managers: develop close relationships with your people, delegate BIG chunks of responsibility and stay closely connected with them along the way. Your career path is assured, together with the person you developed. If you only ask people to do the small stuff, they aren’t going to grow and neither is the business. Worst of all, the talented people you hired are going to vote with their feet and take their talents elsewhere. And that is going to be noticed.