The Healthcare Leader and the Delegation Matrix

By February 1, 2019Leadership

The 1999 science fiction action film, The Matrix, was a resounding hit—forever changing the sci-fi genre and spawning tropes that are still referenced in popular culture today: black sunglasses, super slow motion, and the infamous red and blue pills, to name a few.

The Delegation Matrix, featured in my 2017 book, The DNA of Leadership, may have just as big an impact on your organization as its namesake had at the box office. The added benefit? No mediocre sequels!

Enter with me, if you will, the world of the Delegation Matrix

As a healthcare leader, it is important to recognize that different people on your team have different skills, interests, and temperaments. Routine work that Kevin loves might drive Rhonda crazy. Conversely, Rhonda might be able to sift quickly through complex work that Kevin is not well suited to tackle.

Many healthcare leaders give everyone on their staff similar duties out of a sense of fairness, or else dole out the trickiest tasks to the most senior staff. However, neither of these strategies optimizes organizational efficiency because neither strategy leverages subordinates’ skillsets.

In order to decide which of your workers should take on which tasks, sort the work that you intend to delegate by its complexity. Set any simple, routine projects to one side and the more complex or arduous tasks to the other. Then you are ready to enter the Delegation Matrix below.

As the Matrix suggests, more complex, strategic, and multifaceted work should go to your most capable subordinates, not necessarily your most tenured.

Simple, routine tasks should go to your subordinates whose skills are not as suited for complex or multifaceted duties. The exception occurs when you are trying to develop the skills of an employee whose proficiencies do not yet pass muster.

Perhaps most importantly, the Delegation Matrix suggests never assigning simple, routine tasks to employees with skillsets that allow them to handle more. After all, the team only wins when everyone is meeting his or her full potential.

There you have it. the Delegation Matrix may have a lot less frowning Keanu Reeves than The Matrix films, but I hope that it will have a greater impact on your organization. And, if it makes you feel cooler to put on your shades when you delegate, go for it!

THE TAKEAWAY: Healthcare leaders should use the Delegation Matrix to assign tasks to the most well-suited employees. Doing so will maximize the potential of your whole team.

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