Athena CEO Gina Cotner was recently interviewed by Davina Frederick of Wealthy Woman Lawyer. The conversation moved into a discussion around delegating thinking:

I thought to myself, “Well, let’s just go there and see if I can start to speak somewhat intelligently about this.” Again, this is where I think the real freedom lies.

Yes – graduate level delegation is delegating thinking. Consider saying to your assistant (or someone who reports to you) something like:

  • “Go think about this please.”
  • “Go research this and tell me what you think and what questions you have.”
  • “What questions should I have?” 

The other graduate level delegation skill is to delegate an entire process or project, knowing that your assistant or whomever is working for you, doesn’t know much about the topic. And perhaps neither do you! Rather than you doing the initial research to figure something out and then delegating smaller pieces and parts of the next steps, you give the entire project to someone. After explaining what you think you want and what you are after,  you can then say, “This project is yours. I know you’ve never done this before, and neither have I. No problem. You please dive in. Lead the charge. Do some initial research. Let me know what you learn, what you think, what you see next steps might be and then let’s talk.” 

After this, the project is theirs. It belongs to them. Now you work for them. Now you work for your assistant. Your job is now to be a useful, valuable, responsive team player. 

Once they have done this initial research or an even deeper dive, you can start providing answers or asking more detailed and educated questions to partner in getting what you want done, DONE. This kind of partnership with your EA is an invaluable tool that will pay off huge once you get into a rythym! 

When you delegate more than you think someone can handle, or more than you think they are equipped to do, you will find out what they really are capable of! They may not be able to do 100% of what you have asked, but you may find that they can accomplish 90% and previously you would have bet they could only do 70%, but you got surprised while discovering that they are more capable than you thought. 

So… go experiment…and get surprised!