How to Delegate – Flexing your Style

Effective delegation means flexing your style to the level of skill and motivation of the person to whom you are delegating. 

The “Skill – Will” matrix helps you judge which style would be most effective, depending on how committed (will) and how capable (skill) they are.

You can adapt your Interaction Style depending on what approach you believe is needed for the person ie depending on where they fit on the commitment and capability axes.  

  • For someone low in commitment and capability, a Directing, “tell”, approach might be appropriate, to clarify for them what to do and how to do it.  In this case, a Mobiliser or Navigator style could be the most effective style.  (Learn about the styles here).
  • For someone low in commitment and high in capability, a Motivating approach might be appropriate to help them become energised towards the task.  In this case, Energiser could be the most effective style.
  • For someone high in commitment and low in capability, a Coaching approach might be appropriate to help them work out and build their confidence in how to achieve the task. In this case Synthesiser could be the most effective style.
  • For someone high in both commitment and capability, a Delegating approach (ie leave them to get on with it in their own way) is likely to be most appropriate.  

For each Interaction Style there are different strengths and pitfalls related to each approach – a Mobiliser style will work well with someone low in commitment and capability, who needs a Directing approach; however, a Mobiliser style can be a complete turn-off for someone who is motivated and would prefer to be coached to help them work out what to do for themselves, rather than be directed. 

If you have a Synthesiser style, listening and being patient with your team member may come naturally to you and this fits well if a Coaching approach is required; but this style may be ineffective, and could potentially be seen as “soft” by an individual who is not performing because they lack motivation. 

The point is to be aware of when you need to flex your natural Interaction Style and adopt the characteristics of another style, in order to delegate in the best way for the person’s situation.

To learn more about your own Interaction Style and how to flex it, see How to Get On with Anyone

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