“Delegating ‘what to do,’ makes you responsible. Delegating ‘what to accomplish’ allows others to become responsible.” – Mack Story

Since becoming a PGA golf professional in the mid-90s I have seen and heard some important words thrown around at meetings, on the job, at PGA functions. Words like delegating, mentoring and leadership are the ones I have heard most.

As I make my way around the PNW Section, and others here in the West, I have come to believe we all don’t agree on the definition of these words. In this article, I’d like to focus on DELEGATING. Many of us (if we’re honest) and other professionals (including those we respect the most) haven’t been taught what these words truly mean or more importantly how to make them happen for those whom they supervise. I was one of those professionals.

In 2009, when I was a director of golf, I had a very good, very conscientious head professional named Cameron working with me. We had worked together at that point since 2006. It was the middle of the season and I was finding myself very frustrated with how the state of our expansive practice facility (including tees setup, appearance, stacking of balls, etc.) had fallen off. To say the least, I was very fired up to fix it. In my frustration, I wrote out the detailed expectations I had for the practice facility, in terms of what it should look like, when to rotate it to manage turf, etc.

The following day, I set up a meeting with Cameron and I expected to have a bit of a battle over what he might take as a “beating from the boss.” Instead, his response totally surprised me. He said, “Well it’s about freakin’ time.” I was floored. After reading my detailed expectations and outcomes for the practice facility again, he said, “So this is what you expect? This is my box for the practice facility?” I said, “Yes, if you and I agree on these concepts now, that is what I expect you to deliver.” Then, he said something that was an epiphany to me, “So if this is my box, do I have your permission to tell you to ‘stay the heck out of my box’ when you start stomping around in it?”

With that question Cameron was asking me the question your staff, your assistants, your team is asking you? Do you trust me enough with “this box” (whatever responsibility you give them) to actually delegate it to me?

Of course, as a “recovering meddler” there were a few times where I found myself stepping into Cameron’s box concerning the practice facility operation. He kindly reminded me that I didn’t belong there and reminded me of our agreement. To this day, I am grateful for what we both learned from that experience. I learned how to actually delegate and he learned that I trusted him.

With this story in mind, I would like you to ask yourself and evaluate yourself on your ability to delegate and mentor your staff, your team and even your colleagues/peers.

  • Do I view delegation as a leadership chore or as an opportunity?
  • Would true delegation help our operation (our programming, our menu of experiences) meet the needs of more customers/members?
  • Are any of the issues below (ones I have control over) affecting my ability or willingness to delegate effectively?
    • Insecurity (Fear of task not being done well or being criticized)
    • Lack of confidence in my team
    • Lack of Quality Training (I can’t trust my staff because I haven’t adequately trained them to think, operate or lead)
    • Personal Enjoyment/Pride in the Task (Selfishness or personal pride placed in that activity)
    • Habit (Laziness, not thinking, just reacting, not proactive)
    • Reluctance Caused by Past Failures (Regret)
      • Did my past efforts to delegate fail because I really “dumped” (rather than delegated?)
    • Lack of Time (Not prioritized)
  • Would it be better for me to FOCUS on the tasks that no else can do (that I’m uniquely suited for) so my staff can be delegated?

TAKING STEPS TOWARD DELEGATING THIS SEASON

I’m hoping you looked at the story I shared, plus answered the questions above and come to the conclusion, “I need to be better at true delegation.” If you did, I would like to close this with some steps toward delegation that you can take this season, this month or better yet, today.

  1. Ask them to be “fact finders” in the area you’re planning to delegate to them.
  2. Ask them to make suggestions on why and how the target area, should be operated, completed, etc.
  3. Ask them to implement one of their suggestions, but only after you give your approval.
    1. Ask them to define what success will look like for both of you
    2. Focus on the results more than the methods
  4. Ask them to take action on their own, but communicate regularly with you including:
    1. Report any unforeseen outcomes
    2. Report results overall and feedback from customers
  5. Give them complete authority “in their box”
    1. Give them the right and responsibility to make decisions
    2. Resist stepping into their box, encourage them to solve problems on their own and help them see that you trust them enough to let them learn from success and from mistakes

I asked you in my article for March 2016: Are you a “Change Agent” in golf? Being a successful leader who truly knows the definition and habit of delegating is one great way to bring change to your facility, to the lives and careers of your staffers and make your own energies go much farther.

As always, if you are a “change agent,” I’d love to learn more about the details, the planning and the story of your success. Our “coalition of the willing” is a growing army of player development and member engagement specialists right here in the PNWPGA Section. Let’s make 2016 the season of success together.

Monte Koch, Certified PGA Professional/Player Development
Player Development Regional Mgr/Mentor**
PGA of America (Greater Seattle/PacNW PGA Section)
Email: Mkoch@pgahq.com  Cell: 206/335-5260