Delegating as a Physician Leader: 4 Tips To Setting Your Team Up For Success

leadership physicianleaders womeninmedicine Oct 17, 2020
physician leadership with Dr. Lisa Herbert

Hi Physician Leaders,

I'm Dr. Lisa Herbert, Board Certified Family Physician, Best Selling Author, Speaker, and Executive Leadership Coach. I help physicians transition into leadership roles so they can be the respected voice in healthcare. 

Last blog we talked about the importance of delegation as a leader. Just to recap, leaders must delegate effectively. The most successful leaders treat delegation as an essential strand of their leadership approach. Areas of work, activities, routine, and event-specific decisions, are analyzed, evaluated, and where appropriate the decision is made to delegate responsibility and authority. Delegated powers are explained, discussed, and agreed upon, and measurable objectives set.

The next step is for the leader to build on this by adopting a consultative, supporting, coaching role, as appropriate for each of the individuals delegated as a way to create a clear path to success.

Here are 4 tips for setting your team up for success:

  1. Remove or reduce barriers to effective delegation, by identifying organizational policies, procedures, structures, practices, or cultural aspects, which work against effective delegation. Discuss the ways in which barriers could be removed. Implement changes or adjustments to reduce or eliminate identified barriers. Most organizations have visible and hidden barriers that inhibit and hinder effective management. The role of the leader is to introduce direction, strategies, structures, policies, procedures, and influences, into the organization, so that staff can operate in a culture that encourages creativity, innovation, high-quality performance, and success.

2. Provide support for a delegated activity, by discussing and agreeing on the level and nature of support needed. Adopting a leadership style that provides appropriate availability, support, and guidance to those with delegated responsibilities, but also allowing them the freedom to carry out the activity without unnecessary interference will inspire and motivate those who have been delegated to. There are two common reasons for delegation to fail. One is that the analytical and decision-making process was not thorough enough, leading to the degree of the delegation being inappropriate. The other most common reason for failure is that the leader delegates and then do not provide appropriate support to the manager being delegated to. Once the leader has delegated, they must then provide an appropriate level of personal support, encouragement, and resources, to the individual. This support should include: publicizing the delegated powers to relevant individuals and teams internally; informing other stakeholders such as suppliers, customers, clients, of the delegated powers; coaching, mentoring, providing training, as appropriate.

  1. Reward performance, by openly praising consistently high-quality performance and exceptional performance. Build this performance into the organization’s performance appraisal system. This is an important part of the process because delegated powers are, by default, in the highest group of demands made on the individual, and when performed well, are deserving of recognition and praise. Rewards do not have to be substantial, nor monetary in nature. Recognition and praise will be appreciated by the receiving individual and by their teams and other observers. The leader who delegated the powers must ensure that, when appropriate, high levels of performance in delegated areas, are achieved.

4. Monitor, Review, And Adjust, by implementing regular reviews of the delegation process and of individual instances; reviewing the appropriateness of current and planned delegation, against the most current strategic objectives; taking corrective action where necessary. The leader delegating powers to others should implement a monitoring and review process that requires them to review the whole process and individual performance. Individual performance should be monitored continuously, with formal review points at least quarterly. The overall process should be reviewed at least every six months, at which point the success of the process should be evaluated against the original objectives and then adjusted to take into account changes in operational activity and in strategic direction.

In Summary: In order for leaders to delegate effectively, they must review the processes to make sure the responsibilities are suited for delegation. The work, activities, and decisions, must be examined, assessed to determine who will receive the responsibility and authority for said work. This then has to be explained, discussed, and agreed upon, and measurable objectives set. In order to set your team up for success, the leader then must adopt a coaching style and supportive role for each individual. The individual's performance must be monitored and adjusted as necessary. Finally, the performance of the delegation process itself is monitored and reviewed by the leader and the senior management team, to ensure that it remains compatible with the strategic direction being taken by the organization.

If you are looking to transition into a leadership role or need help on your leadership journey download my free guide here, The 10 Steps You Need to Successfully Transition Into a Leadership Role. 

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