“A million-dollar move and a nickel shot.” That’s the description my old basketball coach would use watching a player dribble between his legs, behind his back, and weave through the defense only to bang the ball off the rim scoreless.

You have spent so much effort and resources to consider the task, employee, and delegation process. Now you want to wrap it up successfully. This entire process really wasn’t about the task. It was about the development of competence and confidence in your team. Your long-range goal shouldn’t be about how fast single tasks can get completed even though they need to get done. It should be how fast you can get a lot of tasks done by your operation rather than yourself.

By your operation, that means the combination of your staff and system.

Therefore, your job as a great leader isn’t done just because the task is.

The Post Mortem is now due. The project requires an autopsy to dissect the completion process. These phrases sound grim, but they are just word pictures that indicate a final analysis. With the stress of the deadline past and hopefully some praise given by leadership, your employees can open up about their learning process.

As before, start with questions. Good leaders know any comment they make about the good or bad will steer the conversation. This isn’t really about you as much as it’s about how your employees think and feel about what they just went through. Did they enjoy the challenge? Do they feel good about accomplishing something new?

How will you know the honest answers to these things?

Ask questions.

  1.   How do you think the job went? (if they give short answers, draw them out with questions like “Why do you think that?  Can you explain that in more detail for me?)
  2.    If you had to do that job again, how would you do it differently?
  3.    If I asked you to train someone else for that job, how would you do it?
  4.    Did you need resources that you didn’t have or is there anything you wish I had done for you now that you are finished?

Be quiet and listen. Remember, you are building an organization with this process and not trying to correct the employee. Encourage initiative. Hinting around that they either didn’t do it perfectly or as well as you would have feeds your ego at the expense of their budding confidence.

This employee is deciding if they did a good job or not. Your words and actions speak volumes right now. You’ve got to keep your head in the long game and be willing to sacrifice short-term quality and quantity to develop an all-star roster. You’re not going to recruit stars nearly as often as having to develop them.

My business coaching clients in Oklahoma City all want to grow their businesses and it always starts with growing your individual employees.

Other articles related to this series:

  1. 7 Gears of Delegation
  2. Delegation Develops Skills
  3. Delegation: The Bounce-Back
  4. Delegation is Your Responsibility
  5. Delegate: To Whom?
  6. How to Delegate
  7. Support Your Delegation

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