Delegating Greatness: 8 ways your team will tell you how great you are

Delegating Greatness: 8 ways your team will tell you how great you are

He had a big product launch coming up, and the feedback from his team was clear – you direct me too much and don’t let me do my job. It hurt, and yet it was exactly the nudge he needed because he respected his team and wanted to become more strategic in his role. He made the decision to change, and invited me, as his coach, along for the journey.

Think about yourself as a leader and imagine what you would hear if you asked everyone to give you feedback on the effectiveness of your leadership? Would an issue around delegation emerge?

In my experience coaching leaders and working with leadership teams to implement EOS® in their business, I am invited into the conversation where feedback is given and received. This is a common story in any leadership journey where organizations strive to achieve something more from their business. In all those conversations, delegation is one of the most common barriers that emerges for leaders.

So how do you know if you are delegating effectively? You could do a survey, but I challenge you to take a bolder step and just watch and listen to your team for a week using the Ladder of Control by David Marquet as a lens. The analogy Marquet presents us is a ladder, with the bottom rung being high control by the leader with a corresponding low control by the team member, and the top rung being low control by the leader with high control by the team member.

Words most heard from your people and the corresponding control you are being given or you are exerting:

  1. “Tell me what to do . . ” (high control from the leader)
  2. “I think . . .”
  3. “I recommend . . .”
  4. “Request permission to . . .”
  5. “I intend to . . .”
  6. “I am about to . . .”
  7. “I just did . . .”
  8. “I’ve been doing . . .” (low control from the leader)

Your experiment will take a week of normal work with your team. Make a list of all your people and the statements from Marquet (maybe a matrix). At the end of each day, reflect on what you heard from them that day. If a person used multiple statements/rungs, document which topics they seemed to want more control over and which ones they want to give you control.

Finally, think about your default style and how you responded in your conversations with them.

  • What rung are you most comfortable operating on?
  • What rung does the behavior of your team indicate is how you manage them?
  • Where is the opportunity to shift as a leader to help your team take on greater control and you to let go of control?

In my work with leadership teams implementing EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System®), I equip them with tools called Delegate and Elevate™ and the concept of Hitting the Ceiling™ to help navigate this critical leadership change. When it does happen, it becomes such a powerful event for the leader, for the team, and for the business. My passion is “Maximizing growth and minimizing pain, helping people move to and past the tipping point of success.” Let me finish the story I started above to illustrate what this tipping point of success looks and feels like.

We met after the launch was complete, and he reflected how much work it was and how his team had really done some amazing things to get the product out on time and with relatively few issues. In the second set of feedback, his team told him that he had made great improvement in delegating and trusting them. He was not perfect, but our journey had been successful. His smile told me he was proud of himself for becoming the leader he wanted to be – his actions finally aligned with his heart. Smiles with real pride behind them always seem bigger to me.

Listen . . . Lead. Repeat often! ~ Scott

Do you want to explore this topic more deeply and start your own leadership journey to become skilled at delegating? Here are some of my favorites:

  1. The One Minute Manager Meets the Monkey by Ken Blanchard, William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L Wass
  2. Management Time: Who’s Got The Monkey by William Oncken, Jr. and Donald L. Wass (Harvard Business Review Article)
  3. How To Be A Great Boss by Gino Wickman and Rene’ Boer
  4. To explore a process to make delegate and elevate a cultural norm, read Traction: Get a Grip On Your Business by Gino Wickman.
12 Nuggets of Wisdom from the EOS Community

12 Nuggets of Wisdom from the EOS Community

I believe all leaders should find a group of people outside their business to help them learn and to keep them grounded and away from the head trash thinking of “it is only me that struggles with this.”

My practice as an implementer is to always attend a QCE (Quarterly Collaborative Exchange) with 200+ other implementers from around the globe. Here are some quick quotes that I brought home which I think you will find helpful and maybe funny as you lead your teams. If any trigger a thought for you that you want to kick around, call me or email to set up a time to talk. As my EOS partners, you are my priority!

  1. Remember to explain what LMA means to all your leaders – especially your younger leaders. The reason is that the urban dictionary defines it as Leave Me Alone!
  2. In the absence of data, the brain makes up a story.
  3. If things are happening in a session that aren’t feeling right, the mirror is a good place to start.
  4. You are as young as your future is bigger than your past.
  5. The last 7 years were the greatest 4 years of my life.
  6. What are the 3 things that I love to do?
  7. A lot of entrepreneurs have a fabulous delegation system, it just goes the wrong way.
  8. Entrepreneurs don’t get freaked out about goals, they get freaked out about deadlines.
  9. It is rare that a company hires to replace a visionary.
  10. Lens for your website: What do you want me to do when I come to it? (then evaluate it)
  11. If you are committed to your customers, you make time to call x each day. (What if x=5 for you? – I met an implementer that does this every day!)
  12. The European countries of Belgium and Italy struggle with the open and honest part of EOS because culturally their conflict style is more indirect, so it takes more time. (If you have operations in Europe, I met an implementer that works all over the continent and could help you roll it out well if you need some advice.)

Social Media and Relationships: 3 headlines you will never see (for Leaders AND Parents)

Social Media and Relationships: 3 headlines you will never see (for Leaders AND Parents)

When I begin EOS® (Entrepreneurial Operating System®) with a client, we talk about how being an effective leader is like being a good parent. The key is having a few rules, repeating them often, and being consistent (i.e., demonstrating them through your actions). We do this because most leaders are also parents/aunts/uncles/etc., and the powerful correlation helps make it easier to remember this critical message.

Those of you who have spent time with me in keynotes or classes know that I bring in parenting stories often because I believe the skills we use to lead at work are the same ones we use to lead at home.

So here is my story . . .

We have a rule in our house that you don’t get a cell phone until you are going into ninth grade. This summer, our youngest child received her first phone. My wife is very good about starting intentional conversations around important topics for all of us to learn and talk about as a family. She does not dictate the family reading list often, so when the book The Tech-Wise Family: Everyday Steps for Putting Technology in Its Proper Place by Andy Crouch showed up, our summer conversation was clear. Then, when a printed copy of the The Atlantic’s article, Have Smartphones Destroyed a Generation?, showed up the conversation went up a notch.

A note to parent leaders: The Atlantic article provides some powerful statistics around children and time with parents, timing of driver’s license, # of hours of sleep, dating activity, sexual activity, and rate of depression/feeling lonely since the introduction of the iPhone. At the very least, go to the article and review the graphs. It is a must-read.

For business leaders: I believe we do not have to wait for a study to come out and tell us the impact of social media on our key relationships as leaders. Do you honestly believe any of the following will ever appear as a headline that is backed by credible research?

  • Facebook Credited With Decreasing Divorce Rate
  • 24/7 Access to Email = Increased Employee Engagement
  • Instagram Rebuilding Families Around The Globe

Don’t wait for the data. Healthy relationships at home mirror healthy relationships at work. Time together talking, listening, laughing, and sometimes crying is how relationships are built. I will not offer web-friendly “5 Habits To  . . . ” or “3 Things To Do . . .” lists. Each of us has to figure that out, and the resources I linked to above are a good place to start.

Remember the mantra about being an effective leader = being an effective parent:

  • Have a few rules
  • Repeat them often
  • Be consistent (Walk the Talk)

Lead well – at home and at work . . .

 

Find a Leader . . And Listen. My conversation with Jeno Paulucci

Like many people, in the next month I plan to tackle the biography of Steve Jobs.  I like reading about interesting people, especially leaders.  While we learn by doing, slowing down to learn here and there is one of the key things leaders can do to raise their own performance.  But do not forget the living biographies that are around us.  Here is my story of pausing to hear a living biography.

Jeno Paulucci died Nov.25th at the age of 93. 

I met Jeno in 1999 when I went to Duluth, MN to run Grandma’s Marathon.  When I planned the trip I thought of Jeno because my Grandfather had talked about him years before.  The family story was that my grandfather, as the dean of Hibbing Junior College, had convinced Jeno to stay in college.  He went on to become the second most famous person to come out of Hibbing, Minnesota (behind Bob Dylan – aka:  Bobby Zimmerman).  The highlights of his business career:

  • Founded Chun King – sold it to RJ Reynolds for $62M
  • Founded Jeno’s Pizza Rolls – sold to Pillsbury for $135M (rebranded to Totino’s)

*if you want more his Wikipedia page has more details

I wrote Jeno a note, and he answered with a handwritten note to accept my offer, so I setup a meeting.  He met a friend and I for a couple hours and we talked about his memories of my grandfather, why he started his business, his current business (Michelina’s pasta), and life stuff.  The line I most remember was him sharing a decision point he had as to whether to sell Michelina’s in his 70’s or keep it.  He went home and told his wife that he thought he should sell it so he could spend more time with her.  Her response was “Jeno, if the only reason you are selling it is to spend more time with me then keep it.  Having you around every day, all the time, will drive me crazy.”  He decided to keep the business. 🙂

Jeno and I - Grandma's Marathon 1999

The other thing that struck me about Jeno was that his office was very plain and he was very normal.  He knew my grandfather and made time for me to just talk, and the conversation was very easy.  When I met him at the end of the marathon he ordered me to go get my jacket so I would not get cold.  He was kind of bossy. 🙂

Often times the holidays puts us in rooms with people that we do not know that well, and much of the time is spent figuring out how to escape.  When I see a room full of people I see it as a kind of a library of biographies.  Storied that can be heard by asking things like: Where they lived?  Where they grew up / went to college / worked? What were some highlights from past jobs / holidays / vacations?  Who is the most famous person they have ever met?

I never talked to Jeno after 1999.  The one thing about his obituary that caught me eye was the piece about his wife.  She died 5 days before Jeno.  Apparently she must have been pretty important to him.  Go figure. 🙂