Delegating with authority

Charles Young Jr. realizes
that his 300 employees are at different stages in their lives
with different priorities — for
example, an employee who is
right out of college may be
more focused on career than an
employee who is married with

Young says it’s important to
realize when your employees’
values change and to ask yourself if your company — and the
individual — can adjust.

You may also want to consider whether you want your
employees working 14 or 15
hours a day, says the CEO of
SDE Business Partnering LLC,
a custom service integrator. If
they’re working that many
hours, you may need to question whether they have good
organizational skills, whether
they are structured and whether
they know how to delegate,
especially if they are in a leadership role, Young says.

Smart Business spoke with
Young about how to delegate
the right way and how to monitor an employee’s progress on a

Give employees authority when
A lot of people
want to delegate and give
responsibility and no authority. If you are going to truly
delegate, you have to give the
authority to make it happen
along with the responsibility.

That’s the key to delegation.
If you are going to give a
leader the responsibility to go
do project X and bring it in on
time, but every time he needs
something done, (he’s) got to
come check in with you, then
everyone will look at the
authority and who’s running
the project because it’s not
the leader or the person.
They’ll look at you because,
‘Well, I’ve got to go check
with my boss.’ Well, eventually you have no authority.

A lot of leaders think they
are delegating, but they’re
really not. Because they are
afraid that, ‘OK, if I give this,
it won’t be done quite the way
I would do it.’ Well, that’s true.
And guess what? That’s how
you get innovation; you get
new ideas. So you have to be
open-minded that everything
is not going to be actually the
way you want it to be. It has
to be some creativity and
allow people to grow.

Will there be mistakes in
that? Yes. How do people
grow if they don’t make mistakes? But, you have to understand if there is a good, solid
individual coming through
and you are trying to mentor
them and teach them. You
have to delegate the right
amount of authority and the
right amount of responsibility.
At some point (with) a new
person, you may not delegate
the authority, but you tell
them why because they are
not in a position that they can
really make that decision?

When you give authority,
you are giving a lot of responsibility, and, in our company,
authority means you can spend
dollars or you can affect other
people’s lives. When you do
that, that’s authority. You’ve
given some kind of control
over something, some assets.

Monitor progress. True delegation is you have some checkpoints, but you qualify those
and say, ‘Here’s what I need
done. Make sure you’ve got all
the resources to make that
happen. Get it done.’

It’s simple questions. Ask
the question and listen. How
they respond to the question
will tell you, do they really
know? Sometimes, they’ll go
really deep into detail, and
sometimes, they are very vague. If you say, ‘Are you on
time?’ They say, ‘We are doing
great.’ There is a confidence
level people go into when
they really think.

When you get that hesitation,
say, ‘Tell me a little bit more.’
Now, you’re just digging. ‘Did
you try this?’ You haven’t de-empowered them. They may
have been afraid to come ask
because they’re like, ‘Oh, if I
ask, then he thinks I can’t do it.’

Have some control mechanisms around it. Report in
however frequently you feel
comfortable, but you put controls around it. But when they
make the mistake, you have
to stand behind that.

It doesn’t mean you perpetuate foolishness. It just says you know they made the
mistake, accept the mistake
and move on. They will make
mistakes because you made
them to get in your position.

I can guarantee you I made a
lot of mistakes, and the difference between me and
another person is maybe the
way their boss responded to
those mistakes.