It’s true – if you delegate a task to someone and they fail to complete it, it’s largely your fault. That’s one of the main responsibilities of a manager – to make sure that you are always helping others succeed around you. But you also can’t sit there and watch everything they do. You have to have trust – trust that they are going to make good decisions, and trust in yourself that you made the right choice in selecting them for their particular role.
You may be faced with delegation behavioral interview questions like this one. Yet it’s not always what it seems.
Behavioral Interview Question: Tell me about a time when you delegated a task to a team member who did not perform the task as you would have performed it. How did you handle this?
This is often a trick question. When you first read it, it makes you feel like you have to reprimand the employee and tell them how to do it right. But dig deeper – if you look at the question, the best answer isn’t that the employee did it wrong, but that YOU were wrong, and had the awareness and trust to realize that the individual had a great idea.
“You know, with the best employees, that will happen all the time. I remember one time I had asked Bill to program a new website for one of our clients in WordPress. He started, but realized it would have limited functionality and that, since the company we were creating it for was tech savvy, he created the site exactly as the client described in Joomla. He kept me informed throughout the way. I told him that I wanted to see him start to put it together first, and when I could tell he was right on the money I praised him for his great work and let him move onward unimpeded.”
No one said the employee did something wrong. In the question, the employee simply took a different route, and you did what you should – trusted him to see what he could do, and moved forward. This is an impressive answer.