How to Delegate for Development

People Processes: Clarity & Consistency
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Dec 19, 2013 | Blog

In my last post I spoke about why delegation is important to develop others around you. 

Yet not all types of delegation develop leaders. To do this, you have to delegate projects and tasks that tap into people’s strengths AND into their intrinsic motivations.  

Fans of Daniel Pink’s bestselling book Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, know that money alone doesn’t motivate us. In fact, we are motivated by work that is purposeful (contributes to something greater than ourselves), provides autonomy (ability to choose how, when and with whom we get to work) and brings mastery (opportunity for learning and growth). 

You may already know the strengths of your individual team members, but do you know their motivations? Understanding the specific motivations of your people will allow you to successfully delegate the right tasks and projects.  

Back in 1979, Ivan Scheier created a tool to identify people’s intrinsic motivations (before Daniel Pink articulated it as autonomy, mastery and purpose). This tool, the Window of Work, is a simple yet powerful way to shed light on the types of projects, tasks and recognition that will motivate your employees, board members and volunteers to do their best work. 

This tool is a great way to start identifying what to delegate in order to deliver great results for the organization and develop the individual (the win-win).  

The Window of Work asks four questions:

1. What are your Wise Why’s? Explore why the person is personally passionate about the organization’s mission/cause. This gives you a sense of their purpose.

2. What are your Glad Gifts? Discover what skills the person gives happily to the organization. This is often where excellence exists, and where people tend to be self-directed and autonomous. 

3. What are your No-No’s? Determine the tasks and areas where the person truly does not want to work. Usually those tasks and areas are not done with excellence. 

4. What do you Yearn-to-Learn? Find out what the person wants to master. This is where the person will happily stretch themselves because they have a desire to learn and grow. 

Knowing what elements exist in each window for your employees, board members and volunteers will shed light on the right tasks and projects to delegate. You might even find a project that hits the mark in all four windows: it aligns with their desire for purpose, engages their strengths and ability to be self-directed, steers clear of “no-nos” and also provides a stretch opportunity to master a skill or learn something new. 

This is where delegation turns into development. 


Ready to start delegating? Download the Window of Work now

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Our mission is to transform not-for-profit organizations by convening, connecting, and equipping leaders to lift organizational capacity. Every client leaves our programs with resources to excel in their role and grow the impact of their organization.

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