One of the most important parts of being a leader is being able to identify strengths in people. It’s not enough to simply tell people what to do, or to make sure that you have a lot of people working for you. What you want to do is make sure that you are looking for those people that are going to excel in the specific role you put them in, so that you get the most efficiency, most production, and fewest errors from your projects. Employers are looking for managers who can do this well which is why they may ask you:
Behavioral Interview Question: Give me an example of a project where you successfully delegated some components? How did you decide what to delegate and to whom?
Delegation to employees is Leadership 101. It’s an area where you absolutely have to thrive. If you can’t delegate effectively, then you’re not leading – you’re just a really good employee in a leadership position. But delegation can also be quite difficult, and employers want to know that you put some intelligent thought into it, beyond “I’m in charge, so here’s what I need you to do.”
For this type of question, your goal is to show that you’ve thought about it, and that you’re aware enough of your decisions to be able to highlight who thrived under your instruction.
“One of the advantages of being promoted from a lesser role in the company was that I was already well aware of many of the strengths of other employees. So when working on Project XYZ, I had been able to see first hand who and how they could contribute. I had Darryl work on X, because he had 6 years of experience and he had helped me with it before. I had Sheryl work on Y, because she loved working on it and I knew she’d get it to me on time. And I actually borrowed Jim from IT for Z, because even though he wasn’t in my department, he had shown an aptitude for it in the past. I also took on ABC, because I wanted them to see that I was working with them and I was first noticed within the company for my work with A and C. Our project was completed on time and under budget.”
Remember, there isn’t always an excellent answer to this question. What the employer is looking for is any answer at all that shows you understand the role you’re getting into, and that you put thought behind it.