Since we introduced the Top 20 Characteristics of a 'Best Boss' back in January, we have seen that a 'Best Boss': #1 -- is a good communicator
#2 -- holds himself and others accountable for results
#3 -- enables success
#4 -- motivates others
#5 -- cares about the success of others, and
#6 -- is honest and trustworthy.
Now for the month of July, the newsletter and www.theradgroup.blogspot.com will dig into:
#7 -- shows trust by delegating effectively and
#8 -- is fair and consistent.
In our May newsletter, we discussed how 'Best Bosses' genuinely care about their employees' long-term career success and that they selflessly demonstrate this care for the success of others with career / performance coaching. To be truly effective, coaching requires honesty and trustworthiness. This theme of trust transitions our discussion nicely because, 'Best Bosses' are not only personally worthy of receiving trust, but they also demonstrate trust - in their employees. One of the primary ways they accomplish this is through effective delegation.
Shows Trust by Delegating Effectively
In the workplace, as we have discussed in previous newsletters, the role of a supervisor is to get results through the efforts of other people. Therefore, by definition, success in this role requires that the supervisor delegate to his employees. We generally define delegation as empowering another person to act on your behalf, but to qualify as not simply delegation, but Effective Delegation, more is required. At the end of the day, it will be difficult to walk away feeling "effective" in your delegation effort if the effort failed to produce the intended results. It is critical, however, that supervisors take a wider horizon view than just the discomfort experienced in the moment. Unintended results don't necessarily constitute failure as a delegator, so long as the conditions for success were reasonably created to begin with. Ask yourself these general questions:
- Did the delegated task match the competency level of the individual?
- Was necessary support provided for success (which could simply mean getting out of the way once an assignment has been made)?
To avoid the regret of answering these questions negatively, follow these 6 Basic Steps to Effective Delegation:
- Identify tasks that need to be accomplished and the competencies required for success.
- Evaluate the competencies of your employees relative to the competencies required to accomplish the task.
- Determine who on your team has the requisite skills for success.
- Determine if you want to delegate the complete task or only components of the task.
- Clearly communicate your expectations to the employee and provide necessary resources for success.
- Provide positive feedback following success or redirect performance if success has not been achieved.
Our willingness to delegate a task is determined by two primary factors:
- Our evaluation of the person’s competence and
- Our trust in their ability to achieve success.
Employees instinctively recognize these factors, so understand that when you delegate you are communicating that you have trust in their ability to produce the agreed upon result. However, just the opposite is communicated when you “delegate” and then “look over their shoulder”.
If you don’t have trust that the person will be successful, then focus on training to allow you to build that trust.
Fair and Consistent
There is a story about the legendary football coach Vince Lombardi. One of his players was asked in an interview about what made Lombardi one of the greatest coaches of all time. The player responded, “He treats us all the same...just like dogs!” There is nothing to say that this is really a true story, but it does relate to fairness and consistency. We certainly don’t recommend treating your employees like dogs, but fairly evaluating performance based on clearly articulated criteria is critical. Coach Lombardi’s players knew that he had their best interest in mind and would do what it took to win, but he also didn’t play favorites. He fairly evaluated the performance of all of his players.
Equally important is the predictability of treatment. Treating all team members consistently, no matter who they are, allows for predictable consequences and thus increases motivation to succeed.
Best Boss Bottom Line
There is a re-occurring theme in our descriptions of each of the last four characteristics used by thousands of employees to describe the best boss they ever had -- Trust. You can feel it when you trust someone and you really feel it when you don't. The most compelling relationship to glean from this look at trust is that trust is reciprocal and re-enforcing. When an employee feels trusted by a boss, they are likely to return the sentiment. Also, if an employee trusts that they will be treated in a fair and consistent way, the 'Best Boss' can trust that the employee will be motivated to give any task their best effort, unencumbered by the fear of unpredictable consequences.