This article was based on episode 206 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Get 90% off The Modern Manager’s Guide to Effective Delegation course plus a free worksheet when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join.
We’re told to empower our team, but for many of us, that feels scary. It’s risky to hand over control. It’s intimidating and time consuming to document processes. And yet, if we want to be most effective and we want our team members to stay engaged, we need to embrace the art and science of delegation.
I’m joined today by Yuri Elkaim to discuss the power of documenting your processes and principles. Yuri is a former pro athlete, leading health expert, New York Times bestselling author, and the founder of Healthpreneur®, where he helps health entrepreneurs, coaches, and practitioners start and scale online practices that create more income, freedom, and better results. Yuri explains the how and why of creating principles that allow you to delegate and elevate.
DELEGATE TO FOCUS ON WHAT MATTERS MOST
I’ve often heard managers say they don’t know where to begin when attempting to delegate. Yuri suggests starting with tasks below your paygrade. These are often the lower level, repeatable processes - such as posting on Instagram, scheduling meetings, or uploading videos - that are not the best use of your time. By delegating these, you have more time to focus on important, high level activities like supporting your team. Yuri calls this “Elevation Delegating”; we elevate ourselves out of low level tasks by delegating to others.
KEEP TABS, DON’T JUST WALK AWAY
One of the biggest mistakes Yuri sees managers make is offloading tasks without any followup. While we don’t want to be micromanagers, we still need to ensure our team delivers the results and quality we expect. This means we need to strike a good balance between giving direction and autonomy. Yuri suggests starting with an Early Alignment Phase where you maintain extra oversight as your team member acclimates to new responsibilities. Small, unchecked misses in the early stages could lead to huge mistakes later, so during the first few weeks of a new role or task, monitor your colleague closely to make sure they understand the expectations and are able to make decisions aligned with your values. Then take a step back and offer coaching and guidance whenever requested.
CREATE WORK PRINCIPLES AS GUARDRAILS
It’s impossible to document every scenario and step of a process so that someone else can think and behave exactly as you would. (And, even if we could do that, no one would want to work for us!) In order to provide guidance to our team members so that we have the confidence they will meet our expectations and avoid doing damage, Yuri recommends establishing principles that your team can follow. These principles can apply to any or all aspects of your organization including decision making, email, working with clients, and more. When you have documented principles, your team will have the structure and clarity they need to make good decisions independently of you.
What Bothers You?
To create principles for your team, try this simple trick: think about what bothers you at work or what mistakes you can’t live with. What situations or practices drive you up the wall? What might someone do that would be unacceptable? At the highest level, these are signposts for your organization’s core principles of expected behavior. Yuri’s principles include “Do your best” (because he can’t stand when people do the bare minimum) and “Teach Them How To Fish” (because he believes that empowering people means he can serve them better).
A department, team, or task may have additional principles that relate specifically to them. Yuri has principles for his email marketing team regarding email subject lines. This enables any team member who is tasked with writing a subject to speak in the same voice.
Involve Your Team
There are multiple approaches to creating principles. If you run a small business or a single team, you could consider everyone an expert of their domain. Together, co-create principles that best serve your organization.
Yuri favors a different approach. One organizational principle he holds is that “not all voices are equal”. Meaning, the opinion of those who are experts or who have had greater experience hold greater weight. This applies when creating principles or making decisions where expertise matters.
While it may feel impossible to trust someone else to take over tasks for you, it’s important to take a step back and recognize what we’re missing out on by not delegating. The key is to delegate in a way that sets your team up for success by aligning them in the beginning and slowly backing off. Give them guardrails and guidance so they know when to add their own flair and when to do it in a specific way. When we document processes and articulate our principles, we create a healthy framework that best serves everyone on our team.
KEEP UP WITH YURI
Get 90% off The Modern Manager’s Guide to Effective Delegation + a free worksheet when you become a member at themodernmanager.com/join. Or, purchase an individual episode guide at themodernmanager.com/shop to help you implement the learnings and continue to enhance your rockstar manager skills.
This article was based on episode 206 of The Modern Manager podcast. To hear this episode, and many more like it, you can subscribe to The Modern Manager Podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Spotify, iHeart Radio, Amazon, and Stitcher. Never miss a worksheet, episode or article: subscribe to Mamie’s newsletter.