Aaron was in a pickle. He was a firm believer that, as a manager, delegation was his most powerful people development tool, but he was uncomfortable with the possible outcome. If this delegation failed, it could be disastrous. His dilemma was “who?” Who should he pick to head this project?
His top gun was reliable, but always overloaded with work. Aaron wanted to spread the responsibility to a young, up and comer, but this would be a stretch, with the distinct possibility of failure.
Selecting the right team member is the absolute toughest step in delegation. The manager can do everything else correctly, but if the wrong person is chosen, success may be fleeting.
Selecting the right person is a process of risk management. If the purpose of delegation is people development, and understanding that people learn the most from their mistakes, risk management becomes the rule of thumb to determine who gets the nod.
If you work in a nuclear power plant, you have to pick your top gun every time. If you run an ice cream shop, you can afford the occasional misstep. Gauge the risk, then pick the person.