Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

Mark Miller | VP of Marketing, Emergenetics International

The Harvard Business Review is doing an interesting series on how to delegate work—including selecting the right projects to delegate, finding the right people to delegate to, communicating what and how you want to delegate, and ensuring that you keep the right tasks for yourself. This component of effective leadership can’t be overstated, because no matter how strong a leader is, eventually he or she will need help.

So what did HBR say about all of this? Not shockingly, it all revolves around narrowing in on the elements of delegation that get to the highest level of proficiency and results with the easiest path to get there while also demonstrating effective leadership. In other words, find the right projects that leaders can’t or don’t need to be doing, find the people who a) can understand what is needed; b) have the effective skills to accomplish them; c) want to do them; and d) have the underlying strengths to excel.

With Emergenetics, our sweet spot is two-fold; uncovering and celebrating the motivational attributes that each team member has and revealing and enhancing each person’s underlying strengths—their innate brilliance. According to the authors at HBR, this identification process is critical and effective leaders need to “be clear about what each member of your staff can and cannot do. Don’t assume all skills are transferable to all situations.” I would take this a step further—skills are not transferable, but once skills are identified and present, leaders need to prepare themselves for a different kind approach.

How would a Red/Yellow (see Profile at left) 2/3rd Expressive or Assertive take a new project on? Probably with a big picture, collaborative approach, where working with others and finding a way to seek other opinions and pass on more ideas is present.

How about the nearly the same Profile with the addition of a Blue (Analytical) preference (see Profile at right)? Suddenly, every idea and every approach will likely be filtered more stringently. The process could be less open and more rationalized.

The skill set (coming up with a new way of doing a task and putting a team together) can get similarly successful results in very different ways…with just a slight change in how the delegate is wired. As an effective leader, understanding these subtle nuances can make all the difference in setting your own
expectations for how projects and tasks you delegate will be completed and how you can manage them at a high-level.