By Stacy Eads
January 5, 2021

Rules for effectively delegating – Part 2

The second four Rules for Effectively Delegating Tasks help clarify to employees what is expected and help them buy into the project.

In my last column, I provided all 8 Rules for Effectively Delegating tasks and projects to your team in Part I of our leadership series. We dove deep in December into the first four rules. Dozens of you already have the Cheat Sheet because you reached out to me on my website or LinkedIn over the holidays. 

This month, we wrap up the final Delegating Rules #5-#8 to ensure you kick off January 2021 with a new tool in your management kit!

8 rules for effectively delegating

  1. Start with Why to Show The Bigger Picture
  2. Tell them Specific Results You Want
  3. Create Measurements & Monitor Progress
  4. Ask them to Repeat Back Desired Results
  5. Ask them to Commit to Achieving Results
  6. Schedule Milestone Reporting Times
  7. Provide Feedback or Course Correct
  8. Give Timely Recognition to People

5. Ask them to Commit to Achieving Results

This is a great moment in the conversation to keep that baton on their end and allow them more time to speak. Specifically, ask them to COMMIT to achieving that result. Phrase it as a question that has a clear YES or NO answer.

Question: “Can I count on you to accomplish this?”

Answer: “I think so…”

Oops. If you hear anything other than a clear YES or clear NO, you need to assume the no. If the teammate says something like, “Maybe,” or “I hope so,” or “I’ll try my best,” or “I think I can,” then it means your work as a manager is not done. They are giving you a hint that they are still not clear on how to do this yet. Open the floor for questions and root out what else they need to get to a clear YES.

Do they need answers to questions? Do they need more tools or resources? Do they need you to repeat Steps #1-#4?

Let’s face it, folks – being called to the big corner office to talk to the boss can be scary. They could have been listening to Steps #1-#4 with huge doe eyes, petrified with fear. That’s why Step #4 and #5 are both incredibly important to pause your leadership monologue and put the ball into their court.

6. Schedule Milestone Reporting Times

Now that you’ve delegated the task and gotten their complete buy-in that they are committed to the results, it’s time to schedule milestone reporting times on a mutual calendar before they leave the office. As the leader, you want to ensure the measurements you put in place are working along the way. This assures they are on track and haven’t come up with any new sticking points, issues, questions, or problems in their project journey.

Don’t be vague by dropping by their desk and casually asking: “How’s it going?” That is not a scheduled milestone reporting time. Instead, set a time on a calendar, so they are prepared to report on their KPIs. You want them to be successful, and they want to be successful, so these calendar-based meetings ensure they feel that intention from you as a leader.

You may think, “but I have an open-door policy!” and forget, sometimes your desk, your title, your office feels out of reach to that employee. They may subconsciously fear you’re busy, or they are interrupting, or today is just not a good day for you. Scheduling a time ensures there are no barriers to their open communication with you.

7. Provide Feedback or Course Correct

During these milestone reporting meetings, be sure you’re giving them your undivided attention. Put away your cell phone, turn away from your computer screen, and focus your eye contact on them. While they report their progress to you, be sure you provide quality feedback. Everyone deserves to know where they stand before it is too late. Correct course while you can.

You’ll be amazed how many nitty-gritty details are still locked away in your mental vault. These tiny tips and hints along the way are like a gold rush to them as they are still learning how to complete the project to your full level of satisfaction.

It will be much easier to course-correct if you’ve utilized a Lagging Metric for your goal and Leading Metrics for your scheduled milestone reporting KPIs. If you’d like a reminder of what defines leading and lagging metrics, feel free to jump over to the October issue where I detailed the difference.

8. Give Timely Recognition to People

We are delegating to people, not machines. Please remember to give appropriately timed recognition.

a. Ensure it suits their personality style – introvert or extrovert. Some like to be congratulated in front of the team, while others find it more personable when it is one on one.

b. Ensure it is genuine – not a generic “attaboy” or “good job.” If your usual phrasing could be mistaken for a pastel-colored sticker on a Kindergarten folder, we might be on the wrong path.

c. State privately or publicly what they specifically did that you are praising, and WHY IT IMPACTED YOU as a manager or a company. If it exemplified a core value of your company, be sure to reiterate that too.

d. If it’s stated in a way that they would be ecstatic to repeat it back to their spouse or their parent when they got home, you know you’ve praised them authentically in a language they heard and felt!

I was honored in 2020 to coach upwards of 130 executives worldwide. This is my favorite piece of advice to start 2021. Attaboys don’t cut it. “Good job” is merely two words – it simply isn’t enough. Train your brain to be more intentional about your kudos and recognition of others.

If they genuinely did a praiseworthy job, then take the time to ensure your words make an impact. They should want to run outside and call their sibling to say, “Listen to what my boss just said to me… WOW!”

If your recognition of others feels routine, robotic, or inauthentic, make time to read CRAVE: You can Enhance Employee Motivation in 10 Minutes by Friday. Author Gregg Lederman shares the guidelines for developing new employee praise habits in less than 10 minutes per week. 

Gregg and I met in California a few years ago, and I’ve become an avid advocate of his method. If you’d like a Free Book Summary of CRAVE, visit my website to request a free copy. The leaders I coach enjoy the challenge of raising the bar on their employee communication habits.

Scaling Up

I became a Certified International Coach because I loved the idea of sharing these types of tools with other CEOs as I do in this monthly Edmond Business column. In recent months, we’ve explored each of the Verne Harnish Scaling Up 4 Decisions: People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash.

If you’d like an abbreviated version of the 4 Scaling Up chapters on People, Strategy, Execution, and Cash, visit my website to request a free copy. No strings attached, just an 8-page PDF. Remember, this Edmond Business column is my community give back to my hometown who has given me so much over my lifetime.

To request a 2-Page Cheat Sheet of these 8 Rules to Effectively Delegate, visit and reach out to me anytime. Many of you have emailed me as my columns have posted to take advantage of free book summaries. Several even messaged me a kind note about how much you’re enjoying the Scaling Up by Stacy business column. As always, I appreciate your feedback. Thank you! Let’s all keep scaling forward in 2021.

Subscribe to Email Updates


Get Edmond Business news in your inbox.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

About Stacy Eads

Edmond native & UCO Alumna, Stacy Eads, is an award-winning “Most Admired CEO” who scaled her company as a Woman in Tech before becoming an International Scaling Up Business Coach. She now empowers other CEOs from $2M to $200M to embrace their leadership potential through quarterly strategic planning. Her talent is in high demand to CEO Coach, Train Teams, and Speak at Events in both the U.S.A. and Canada.

Stacy Eads’ career affiliations include 50 Women Making a Difference award, Circle of Excellence award, Torch Ethics award, Most Admired CEO award, Edmond Chamber & UCO Mentor, Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma Board of Directors, TEDx OKC Speaker Coach, and Ambassador Chairwoman for the Greater OKC Chamber of Commerce.