Follow Up In Your Delegation Process Establishes Accountability
As a sales leader, you’ll want to spend some time reviewing how you delegate tasks. If you want to make your team as effective as possible and free yourself up to address the problems only you can address, then you want your delegation process to empower your sales people.
When a member of your team comes to you with a problem regarding a project you delegated to them, how you address it will determine your involvement level. Here are three methods of responding when your sales reps bring you their challenges.
The Buy Back
Do you find yourself using statements like the following?
- Let me think about it for a bit.
- I’ll let you know when I have a free moment to take a look at it.
- Leave it here. I’ll take a look at it in a moment.
- Let me check with some of my sources and see what they come up with.
- I’ll draft up a couple of ideas and give them to you in a bit.
- After I finish dealing with this review let’s sit down and discuss some options.
We call this the buy back option. With these responses, you are “buying back” the responsibility and absolving them of all accountability. All delegation is negated. The assignment remains with you, not with the person you are coaching. There is no progress on the project until you do something to make it happen.
In short, you still own the project.
Do your responses sound like the statements below?
- Send me a memo and we’ll take a look at it when I get around to it.
- Check with engineering. I think they saw something like this.
- Draft up a proposal and then let’s talk about it.
- See me later about this.
- Let me know if I can help with contacting people for you.
- We’ll have to do something a little later. I’m busy right now.
Statements like these put the project in limbo. Here, you may have defined the desired outcome, but you have no real drive or plan to reach it. There is no identifiable plan of action or discernible activity that moves anyone closer to the completion of the task or reaching the defined outcome. With phrases like these, accountability is muddied and slowed. Decisions are delayed and ownership is unclear. You’ve succeeded in delegating only a part of the task or project because clear accountability is not defined.
Now consider the following responses:
- I know you can do this.
- I’m counting on you to see this through.
- I gave this project to you because of your expertise with these types of systems.
- What are you going to do about this issue?
- What’s your plan for moving the project forward?
- I know you will get this done.
At this point, you have effectively established accountability. You have defined the outcome. More importantly, the responsibility for its completion remains with your team member. Your statements reinforce your position and your belief that the individual is the right choice to get the job done. With phrasing like this, you clearly indicate that the individual is still accountable for the results. The delegation process is complete and progress is more likely to occur without your intervention.
Additional Ideas For Your Delegation Process
Here are some additional ideas that you can employ when following up with your team members.
- Include predetermined, desired results of the follow-up.
- It should include predetermined and communicated performance standards.
- Include indicators that connect to the performance standards.
- It should include flexibility to change due to current information.
- Make it a win-win situation for everyone involved.
Remember, you want to stay positive, focus on the desired outcome, and reinforce the abilities of the individual. You don’t want to buy the responsibility back or put the outcome in limbo.
To be an effective sales leader, you want the accountability and responsibility to stay with the assigned team member. And you want to give them support and encouragement they need until the task or project is reaches completion.