Delegation For Tech Leaders In 'New Normal' Times
Sign in

editricon Delegation for Tech Leaders In 'New Normal' Times

Executive & Leadership Coach

When social distancing norms forced organizations to start working from home, the world changed overnight. The transition was the toughest for the people who are used to working out of office on a regular basis, with their teams within their sight. Leaders in technology organizations work on tight time schedules and manage the dynamic changes as they come through on a regular basis. Many of them work in the “agile” mode of development where each person needs to be ready to adapt and change. This was much easier when teams were working under one roof and the leader had a good sense of “who is doing what?” Direction and redirection came easily to leaders.

Delegation for Tech Leaders In 'New Normal' Times


COVID-19 has Tossed us ‘All Around’

From getting ready to work from home and making sure that each team member had the tools to contribute, COVID-19 has pushed us all into taking actions to accommodate the changes. We all hoped it was temporary and that we will return back-to-normal soon. Little did we know that this is going to become the new-normal. Working with their team and extended teams remotely has resulted into more pressure on those leaders who have a need to direct their teams at work on a regular basis, who like to do quick check-ins on floor , or who would like to sit with a team member when there is a problem and tell the team member what exactly to do, and may even look through code with them. Most of them are scheduling too many review meetings and are busy from morning to late night and yet, it still does not seem to be enough. Many leaders are feeling overwhelmed.

My experience of talking to these leaders suggests that many of these leaders missed to recognize that they may not be delegating effectively.

How to effectively delegate!

Following tips may help you to effectively delegate in this new normal -

  • Delegate Outcomes – In remote work environment, working hours has no real meaning. Let team members not tell you how many hours they worked, instead ask them what they plan to achieve. The measurement yardstick has to be ‘outcomes.  Help them think from this point of view.

   This will take away a lot of pressure from you. Do reiterate the shared    purpose you all have for the team. When you delegate, do reflect on -     

  • What is the expected outcome?
  • How well your team understands the outcome? And how do you know this?
  • Trust:  Do trust your team. Easier said than done.   Once you have discussed and delegated a task, do channelize your saboteur of judgement which will appear in your own mind and ask you to check on teammate if she is on right track or not. Every time that thought comes, tell that you are trusting. It will be good to think through -                                    
  • What makes you trust X?
  • What is bothering you about delegating a certain task to X?
  • Operate from Compassion in You – In the current scenario, team members are responsible for many other tasks at home as the ‘home-organization’ that was in place before COVID-19 is broken. Kids are attending remote classes and may need help. More than one person is working from home and sometimes it may not be feasible that all can work at same time. Flexibility allows people to juggle things around and deal with their challenges.  Every end of the day, reflect on-   
  •  How compassionate you were today?
  • Delegate Decision Making – Now for some of you who wants to stay close to all the decisions, it may be a little difficult, but start exploring it. Make the list of all decisions you make. Give the team members the authority to make some of these decisions. Your job is to make them understand the ‘Big-Picture’ and shared purpose you all have. You may also explore with them how the outcomes that are expected from them relate to the purpose. This will enable them to make the right decisions. With every right decision they make, their confidence will rise. Do think about- 
  • What decisions you can delegate?
  • What do you need to know about those decisions?
  • What is important about that need?
  • How will the other person feel about that need?                              
  • Be Available – They should be able to reach out to you to seek help and clarifications. Create multiple channels, such as Microsoft teams, or Slack or WhatsApp or any other medium that is available to you. Set expectations about your working time and turn-around time as well. The clearer the process, the better the results! Do think on-                         
  • What have you conveyed to your team members so that they know you are available?
  • How confident are they about your availability?
  • Enable them – Work on their development. If you feel you are not able to delegate because of some gap in skill set, have a conversation. Encourage them and co-create the channels for learning- Trainings, Coaching or any experience if needed etc. The better they are at their work, the easier it will be for you!
  • What can you do to enable your team more every day?
  • Raising an alarm - if a team member offers excuses time and again for not being able to achieve outcomes, then it deserves a serious discussion. Hold the team member responsible for raising an alarm at the right time to seek help in case of challenges. Extend support wherever required. Think through-
  • What expectations your team has when they get stuck?
  • How will they convey that messages?
  • How comfortable are they with sharing failures?
  • How can you share your concerns with them?

Delegation is important for your own growth as a leader. If you want to grow more in your own career, this is the best time to experiment with your delegation skills.