This is my third blog in a series about how to delegate.  With many people are still working from home, how best to delegate to remote colleagues is a topical issue.

Last time I discussed how to adapt your style of delegation depending on the level of skill and motivation of the person to whom you are delegating.  Today I am looking at the four styles that we tend to fall into when we interact with others, and the benefits and pitfalls of each of these styles when delegating.  Remember that:

  • Whatever your natural style, you can adopt a different style if you want to.
  • The pitfalls of your style can become magnified when you are delegating remotely.
  • You need to make more effort to check the person you are delegating to understands and accepts your request – ask open questions, listen and pick up non-verbal cues. 

We have a natural style when we communicate with others, either a more extraverted or more introverted style, and either a more direction-giving, or information-giving style.  These preferences combine into four distinct Interaction Styles. 

The table below shows the benefits and pitfalls of each style when delegating.  Review it to choose which style best fits your situation.

 Your Interaction StyleBenefits when delegatingPitfalls when delegating
  MobiliserGives clarity about the task, what needs to be done by when Useful with new, unskilled or demotivated employeesCan take away responsibility from others Not so useful when you need buy-in from others
  NavigatorGives clarity about the course of action, the steps to be taken Useful with new, unskilled or demotivated employeesCan limit the scope for others to put in their ideas Not so useful when people need to be energised
  EnergiserGives enthusiasm and a sense that everyone is working together Useful with employees who need encouragementCan seem overwhelming and unfocused Not so useful when people need a plan to work to
  SynthesiserGives openness and a sense that everyone’s input is important Useful with employees who want to bring their own ideasCan seem unclear about what is required Not so useful when people need clear direction

Whatever style comes naturally to you, you can flex it to adopt another style to get the best out of the situation for yourself and your colleagues. 

Find a simple overview of the four styles here

To find out more about your own natural Interaction Style, and how to flex it, see How to Get On with Anyone.