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3 Delegating Tips from my 13-month-old’s Sunday dinner

My 13-month-old is getting ready to graduate.

Next week she will be moving to the toddler classroom.

Toddlers are very different from infants:
  • They sleep on mats instead of in cribs
  • They walk
  • They feed themselves

She can do the first two. That last one could get her held back at a very early age…

So Saturday night, following the best advice I could find, I prepared a plate for her with her favorite foods.

I strapped her into her high chair.

And placed the plate in front of her.

She started eating.

Wow! I realized that I had been babying her.

I had been handing her one spoonful at a time.

With her options in front of her, she got to choose what to eat next.

No guessing. No crying.

It was the most relaxed meal we’ve had yet.

Lesson 1: Plates instead of Spoons

Are you spoon-feeding your employees when they could be handling the full plate?

Sunday night, gleeful at my obvious skill as a delegator, I once again put the full plate in front of her.

She ate a couple of mouthfuls.

Then picked up her plate.

Grinned at me.

And dumped her macaroni & cheese into her lap.

Lesson 2: Once does not equal Every Time  

The fact that an employee succeeded once does not mean that they no longer need coaching. Leaving them on their own after one success is abdicating, not delegating.

Of course, my daughter does not need to be completely self sufficient on her first day in toddlers.

Her teachers will help her.

My wife and I will help her.

Lesson 3: It’s a Process

How much space and support do you offer your employees as they learn and make mistakes?

What did you delegate today?

2 comments on “3 Delegating Tips from my 13-month-old’s Sunday dinner

  1. Hi Andy,
    I like the lesson you learned from your daughter about delegating. It is an example that most everyone can relate to and then it worked well to draw employees into it to complete the analogy. Nicely done!
    Take care,

    1. Thanks for the feedback, Kim. You make a great observation that delegating skills learned in one area of life can be applied instantly and effectively to all other areas of life.

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