Delegate, don’t dictate

It’s the only way to survive as an engineering leader.

  1. Hand off tasks/work to the team
  2. Give guidelines, execution tactics, or constraints to keep things on track
  3. Set an expectation of what to deliver and when
  4. Get out of the way

Delegate not only the main/critical path work, but also “the toys” and interesting/exciting work. Give away your toys.

Even more difficult: don’t tell someone how to do it. Give context (“why”) and constraints. A few style guides perhaps (i.e., codified influence!). But, work with the team to develop the style guide, raise the standard, and enforce the standard. Provide constraints that keep them on track and/or reduce the problem space.

Leadership is about executing through other people. To some extent, that means influencing your team to do the right work efficiently and effectively. That’s delegation in a nutshell.

Adam Keys @therealadam