Don’t be left holding the bag

Leadership Comments (1)

Handle it. Run with the ball. Take care of it.

You’ve said that to people before, right?

Of course. And sometimes you’re pleasantly surprised when the team member truly does handle it well.

Have you ever been burned though? Have you delegated something and realized six months later that it wasn’t handled? Has that dropped ball caused a negative impact on your strategy. Of course.

So, someone didn’t pass a test. What can you do? Reprimand the team member? That doesn’t really help much. Remember, your job as a leader is to help people grow. Assign it and forget it doesn’t help them and doesn’t help meeting the strategic goals either.

Why do we delegate? It shouldn’t be about work redistribution. It should be about growth.

Much has been written about delegation. Without creating a new treatise on delegation, here is how I look at the process:

  1. Select, with purpose, the person to do the task.
  2. Communicate
  3. Delegate
  4. Review the plan
  5. Agree on monitoring
  6. Agree on the lessons to be learned
  7. Monitor
  8. Review the lessons are learned

Let’s focus on #4 and #7 for some important value.

Review the Plan

The step that’s easy to miss when delegating is to not review the plan together. Ask the team member to create a plan to handle the activity you are delegating. Schedule time to review the plan. This allows you to know things are on track directionally and you can provide some coaching. At this point you can both agree on the best way to monitor progress and on what lessons will be learned during the process.


In our software for leading change (coming soon) we have built in automated triggers and reviews that allow you to track evidence based progress. Can you simulate that? Agree together how best to monitor progress and stick to the plan.

When it comes to delegation remember that it is a teaching exercise. It’s shouldn’t be a sink or swim or a pass or fail. It should be a learning experience. Perhaps for both of you.

It is so much easier to do it yourself. But you can’t. You’re not a leader if you do.

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Jim Canterucci

I don't know everything. But I want to. The focus of our firm, Transition Management Advisors, is to develop leadership capabilities to create a championship culture, generate innovation, and successfully lead the resulting changes.

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On March 17, 2015
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One Response to Don’t be left holding the bag

  1. […] week in Don’t Be Left Holding The Bag we discussed delegation. When you delegate well […]

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