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Until everyone is using the four-phase model, it's likely that you'll receive poorly-planned delegations. If you have a positive, open relationship with your manager, you can tell them about this model and ask if they're willing to give it a try. You would be surprised how receptive managers are for new tools. But if your boss is not open, don't despair. Knowing how delegation should go can help you guide the process as the delegate. You should still use the four-phase process, you are just going to approach it from the receiving end. For each phase ask the questions that normally guide the manager.
By doing so, you'll create more clarity between you. You also empower yourself and increase your chances for success. Your attitude and approach is very important here. You want to genuinely ask questions and not come from a place of trying to teach your boss a lesson. I know lots of organizations where employees have shifted the delegation process, simply by driving it from the receiving end. Let's see what that looks like. Your boss will be coming to you in phase two, the handover. While the manager may have done an evaluation process prior to meeting with you, let's assume they didn't.
In phase two you can use the delegation brief for asking questions and taking notes. Feel free to give a blank copy to your boss and tell them that this form helps you. Be sure to work from the questions in the handover phase handout. During this meeting you may have the opportunity to explain some pieces to your manager, like what the levels of autonomy are, but again, be careful of your tone. You want to come from a place of sharing something that you found helpful. If you sound like you're judging your boss for not knowing it, you're going to trigger defensiveness.
By the end of the meeting, you should have some clear details about the project and process. If you have a good working relationship with your manager, you can even encourage him or her to do the evaluation phase. Talking about how overwhelmed they must be will create a nice opening. You can also mention that you think people on the team would be happy to help. Encourage your manager to take time to review their plate and identify projects to delegate. If they seem receptive, you can openly share the model and the handouts in the exercise files. If they don't seem open, you can still drive the evaluation process a little.
You can initiate conversations about your performance review and goals for development. You can talk about your strengths and weaknesses and how you want to grow. You could even suggest potential projects or tasks that could help you grow while simultaneously helping your manager. Speaking as a manager myself, sometimes I've been so overwhelmed with my tasks and sense of responsibility that I can't even breathe. Having an employee suggest a delegation can seem like a lifeline. As you move into phase three, gently remind your manager for any resources or authority that you agreed upon, and be sure you are meeting milestones and delivering progress reports.
Now, it's hard to teach someone how to coach, but you can use the coaching script to coach yourself. Go through the questions and write your answers or have a colleague or friend ask you the questions. The focus here is, again, on empowering yourself to be successful. When the task is finished, schedule a debriefing meeting with your manager. Use the debrief handout to guide the discussion. If you feel comfortable, fill out the form with your supervisor. But if that seems risky, just use the questions to guide your discussion. You can ascertain your manager's views by listening to what they say and fill that in later.
Over time your notes will help you learn more about your manager and the delegation process. Consistent success will also build trust between you and create openings for future conversations. Finally, if you have a training and development department in your company, you can recommend this course to them. Some managers are more receptive when something is endorsed by human resources. In the meantime, you can create great success by implementing the four-phase model yourself.
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