When you delegate effectively the person you delegate to is both willing and able to take on your task.

Being able to shift someone else’s mood up a notch is a useful life skill and is especially useful for leaders and influencers. Being able to shift others moods is a core part of Emotional Intelligence.

When others are in a more receptive mood to you then your requests are more likely to be actioned, you will be more influential and you will have better easier relationships than if you are using your authority or perceived position or power alone. In other words as an effective leader you need to be able to shift moods before you can delegate.

For example Imagine the scenario that you are walking into a room (office space) and you are about to delegate a task to a staff member, let’s call him Ed. The task is important and you know you need it done, but you can see clearly that Ed is not having a good day. His head is down shoulders slumped forward his chest is heaving from the deep sighs; indeed you can hear them from the doorway a few metres away. What do you do?

Let’s say you go ahead with your plan to delegate to him. You jolly Ed along with a loud overly cheerful voice and tell him to snap to of whatever is bothering him, knowing for sure that’s all it take to get him cheerful. Then you land your extra job in his lap and get out of the room as fast as you can breathing a sigh of relief that you didn’t get infected with his low mood and energy and that you “delegated” successfully….

You have delegate d the task to Ed so you move on to the next item on your agenda for the day safe in the knowledge that Ed will do as you asked.
What do you think are the chances that Ed has put your task anywhere on his “must be done with enthusiasm” list? Probably pretty low I would say.

If Ed gets to your task it will most likely be with resentment at being burdened with yet another job – when anyone can clearly see how busy, overloaded and unappreciated he is……you can add you own script here.

How you handle others emotions requires a short trip in the land of Cognitive Behavioural Therapy for background.
CBT works on the basis of understanding that our minds i.e. our thinking, our body posture i.e. our actions and our emotions are linked together. When one shifts the other two shift without much resistance. Of the three, mind emotions and body the easiest to move into a different position is our body.

So lets go back to our story with Ed. If his body is slumped it is highly likely that his emotions and his thinking are slumped as well. You can try facilitate a shift his thinking with a “snap out of it, you’ll be fine” approach. Or you can be more subtle and shift his body.

What to do BEFORE you Delegate
Let’s look at some practical applications with Ed again.

Option 1. Discretion as the Better Part of Valour: You walk in see Ed slumped, and Ed doesn’t see you. At this point you could give him time to work through the issues he is pondering for himself if your task is not urgent. So you wait until later when his mood is more receptive before you delegate to him.

Most people will shift out of a mood by themselves, unless they have a clinical issue.

Option 2. Get Moving: You walk in and see Ed slumped and decide to keep going with your intention to delegate to him; after all the task is urgent.
You know that the easiest thing to do to shift Ed’s low mood is for Ed to usefully move his body. BUT ordering Ed to sit up straight will get a predictable answer, nor is moving his body for him an option unless you want a formal complaint lodged against you.
You can however empathise with Ed about his low state then ask him to come down the hall to the kitchen for a cup of tea/ coffee / water etc, and chat on the way about something unrelated to his slump.
In this case you are empathising, not sympathising with him. You are getting him to move usefully and you are showing that you care by taking time out to share time with him.
Given that appreciation and care are core human needs you are giving Ed a huge emotional lift by this simple act.
Keeping conversation light and easy also gives him the opportunity to shift his thinking as well. If he wants to offload some of his cares he may do this, but the chances are that he won’t need to.
E.g. “Hi Ed, you look a bit low, how about taking a break from what you are doing and let’s go for a cup of ….”

In each of the previous options the responsibility for Ed’s mood sits with Ed.

You are simply facilitating the shift either by giving him space and time, or by giving him a breath of fresh air. When his mood is receptive then you can more easily delegate your task to him.

Some women swear that retail therapy cheers them up. My perspective on this is that the change of environment and thinking about something rather than their problems is doing the healing rather than then act of spending money on new shoes.

These options work when “Ed” is in front of you.

As many of you work remotely and and to be able to delegate remotely from others and either work on the phone or by email, I will give you some insights into shifting moods remotely in another post.

Author's Bio: 

Liz Cassidy, founder of Third Sigma International is an experienced Executive Behavioural Coach assisting clients to create specific outcomes and specialises in transforming Managers with problems into Inspirational Leaders.

Liz has over 25 years industry and business experience in multinational, nationals and small business, in the UK and in Australia within Production, Operations, Distribution Management, Sales and Professional Services.

She is recognised and acknowledged for her skill and ability in assisting her Executive Coaching clients to overcome blocks to achieve their goals.