Delegating effectivelyDelegating and Shifting Moods Remotely

When you are working and delegating remotely or via email you have no way of knowing what mood the receiver of the email is in when you press send and you certainly don’t know what mood they are in when the read you email if it contains yet another piece of work that they have to prioritise and schedule into their busy lives.

Previously when we looked at Ed You could see what mood he was in simply by looking at him and listening to him.

Remotely you can do this by making a phone call to discuss your soon to be delegated task.

Using normal phone etiquette, when Ed answers the phone you check if it is a good time and that he is free to talk.

From the moment he puts the phone to his ear you can already hear his breathing, you can also tell from his voice pitch if he is smiling or frowning in to the phone. You can tell from his tone if he his looking down or if his head is up and he is breathing easily.  In other words you can tell if he is happy to hear your voice or if you are an intrusion. 

E.g. a few weeks ago I was driving in the car with my eldest child, a 13 year old. I needed to make one more phone call to finish my working day. I called my client, Peter, on the hands free kit.   His phone greeting was clipped with just his name, no welcome hello.  He was obviously busy and distracted.  I introduced myself and asked if he was ok to talk (and let him know I was in the car with my daughter.)  Immediately his voice lifted I could hear him relax, his breathing eased and I pictured him leaning back smiling in his office chair. We had a short pleasant conversation and finished our call.  Since the call was on speakerphone my daughter heard the initial clipped greeting and the relaxed response when he heard my voice.  Her immediate question after the call was “Mum, how come people smile when you call them?”

What a great question.

What we are aiming for is that when you make a delegating call to someone to ask them to take on a new task for you, they too agree with a smile.

Again we have some options for facilitating mood changes on the phone.

Options for shifting moods for Delegating remotely

The first step is always to get permission to proceed with the conversation.

Option1: Discretion.  You phone Ed and you get a clipped greeting even before you speak. You know immediately that all is not well in Ed’s world.

At this point you can simply say something like…

“Hi Ed its John here, you sound busy.  I’m sorry to disturb you, when would be a better time to talk?”

In this case you are showing empathy with Ed, and his busyness. You are also showing care and courtesy by giving him space and the opportunity to set a time when he is in a better frame of mind to talk to you. 

You are giving Ed appreciation and care. 

He will be very likely in this instance to immediately relax and shift his mood. However he may be running into a deadline in which case he is now free to suggest a much more suitable time for him.  At this new time he is more likely to be open to your delegating request than if you had kept going with your phone conversation.

You would not have known any of this if you had simply sent him an email.

Option 2. Get Him Moving.

An interesting thing about humans is that we can tell what body posture someone has on the other end of a phone line, so we can build rapport with them by moving our own bodies to match,

We can use this knowledge when we are delegating to help others by shifting to a more useful position, when we sense low energy on the other end of the phone line.

Sitting up straight, standing up, walking around all increase our energy and by default assist “Ed” to shift his position, energy and thinking.

When “Eds” energy and mood are lifted then we can have the conversation we want – with a follow-up confirmation email.

Whether you lead 50 people remotely or you want to get someone in the next building to work on a project with you, learning to shift moods over the phone before you begin delegating is a useful leadership skill.

Contact us on 1300 766 092 to find out more about how you can delegate more effectively

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