How to Find the Right People and Train Them, Part I

Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out. – Ronald Reagan, 40th US President

In past posts we have made the argument for why leaders need to delegate, described how to use situational leadership to determine when to delegate, and to who, shared 7 steps to effective delegation, and discussed what should and should not be delegated. In this post we will tackle how to find the right delegation candidates and properly train them to take the project and run with it.

Is there such a thing as a “perfect” delegation candidate?

No, there isn’t.

As we have discussed, part of determining who to delegate tasks to will depend on who you have available as well as your purpose and intent when delegating. For example, tasking something to a new hire that you are looking to groom may look very different from asking a seasoned member of the team to complete the same task. One may be better equipped to do it today than the other, but that may not be your primary consideration.

Here are some factors to consider when seeking to identify the right candidate for delegation.

  1. The experience, knowledge and skills of the individual. What knowledge, skills and attitude does the person already have? How do they match up to the task at hand? What will they need to learn? Do you have time and resources to provide any training needed?

  2. The person’s current schedule and workload. Does the person have time to take on more work? Will this task require reshuffling of other responsibilities and workloads?

  3. The individual’s preferred work style. How independent is the person? Can s/he collaborate as needed?

  4. The subordinate’s personal goals. What does he or she want to gain from his/her job? What are his or her long-term goals and interests, and how do these align with the work proposed? Will this kind of work engage him/her and motivate them to grow?

  5. The delegatee’s passion. Has s/he expressed an interest in this kind of work before? Does it align with their values and beliefs?

  6. Someone to groom. Is there a person on staff who you would like to develop, in terms of skills, leadership, or both? Perhaps this project is something that they know or can do well and is the perfect opportunity for an easy win.

  7. The project’s flexibility. Is the project one that requires a very specific outcome, or can it be completed in different ways depending on each person’s preference? Filip Boksa, CEO of King of Maids writes, “Letting employees test out their ideas will not only keep them engaged, but it may also lead to additional revenue streams.”

  8. The availability of training resources. Is the leader or some other team member able to train and direct as needed? Are there accessible programs or service providers that can serve that role?

  9. Opportunities for practice. Can the project be practiced or rolled out in low-stakes manner that will allow for confidence building and corrections as needed?

I will share how this applied these criteria to a “delegation situation” in the second installment of this post.