How do you delegate effectively?

Desh Deshpande
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By Desh Deshpande

Editor’s note: This is Part-7 of the weekly video column with philanthropist and serial entrepreneur Desh Deshpande, with excerpts from his book “On Entrepreneurship and Impact.” This column appears every Monday.)

Desh Deshpande

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” – African Proverb

Delegation is not easy.

You want to delegate, but you feel that the other person may not do that job as well as you can do it. So, you hesitate.

On the other hand, you also know that without delegating, you are limited by your capacity to get things done.

Here are three elements to help you effectively delegate.

The first key element here is trust. Without trust, delegation is almost impossible.

I have a binary relationship when it comes to trust.

Either I trust someone or I don’t.

If I don’t trust someone, the option becomes simple – I fire that person.

If I trust someone, then I will work with that person, give them the creative freedom and also help them grow and become more effective.

The second key element is effective communication.

You have a clear idea of what needs to get done. The person you are delegating the task to initially has zero idea. The more clearly you can communicate your expectations for the task, the better the outcome. If the other person has to do a lot of guesswork, they most likely will do so and the result may not be what you are expecting.

The third key element is alignment of strengths.

You are delegating a task to increase your own capacity to get things done and not to test the other person on their skills and strengths.

If the delegated task is not in the area of the other person’s strengths, there is bound to be frustration for both parties.

On the other hand, if the delegated task is in the area of the other person’s strengths, it’s a pleasure for both parties.

You should ensure that there is an alignment of strengths based on the person’s past accomplishments, their interests and your history with them.

In summary, delegation is the key to scale. If you delegate a task by clearly communicating the expected outcome to a trusted person and ensure that the task is aligned with their strengths, you have a win-win situation.

(About Desh Deshpande: During his entrepreneurial career spanning over three decades, Gururaj “Desh” Deshpande has built several companies. He has injected his passion for innovation and entrepreneurship into a number of social impact initiatives in India, the USA and Canada. He has been recognized for his entrepreneurial accomplishments by many institutions including being named co-chair of President Obama’s National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. He currently also serves as a Life Member of the MIT corporation. He resides in Boston together with his wife, Jaishree.)




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