If you have been in a supervisory role or a management role, you’ve probably heard this a million times, “In today’s busy world, one of the best ways to get more time for those top-priority projects is by delegating some of the lower-priority work to someone else.” Sounds fairly simple as a management theory….until you have to actually deal with real people.
Delegating is an interesting exercise in the understanding of human nature and delegators come in all types. From the type who dump a pile of work on their associate’s desk at 5:00pm and want it done first thing in the morning, and to the type who are convinced beyond a shadow of doubt, that there is nobody who can do the work as well as they can.
Wherever you fall on the spectrum, my hope is that these delegating tips might save you from winning the not so coveted #1 worst delegator title in the office.
#1: Ok we know you are the boss, but please ask for help don’t demand it.
You might get it if you demand it, but who knows what you’ll get in the mix. Remember the waitress who spits in the food of a rude customer? Ok you get the point.
#2: Not everyone is psychic….
That’s right, even though you can clearly see the potential in every single person. Hence, the need to paint a very clear picture of what exactly it is you want and the kind of results you expect from the person who is going to be playing with your task. Please don’t play Guess What and hold information from them. Give them the resources they will need to complete the project.
#3. The curse of texting and emails
We live in the world of texting and it can be pretty hard to remember that you can actually communicate by simply opening your mouth instead of moving your fingers. Please make use of that forgotten skill; take the time to talk through things, answer questions, and explain specifically what you’re looking for in the task. I promise you, it will go a long way.
#4. Deadlines matter
Imagine the world without deadlines. Pretty chaotic huh? Especially when we have our own assumptions of when something should be done. There is a reason some wise person invented deadlines. Let’s stick with it. Give your folks a realistic deadline that’s agreeable and workable for both of you, and you will exponentially increase the likelihood of getting the job done on time.
#5. Superman and Superwoman need help too
Really, they do. Just because your super associate is up for the delegated task don’t assume that they’ll be able to complete it without any additional help or assistance from you. You’re the boss after all and you do have all the ideas and information. Take the time to teach the person how to do it the correct way, make yourself available for questions, and when necessary ask for periodic progress reports.
#6. Don’t run away
Even though that might feel like the best strategy, especially when you have no clue how to get a job done, and have therefore delegated it to someone else. Truth be told, you really do have to figure it out first before you give a person the task or else it will come right back to the pile on your desk.
#7. When Delegation met Abdication
Delegating a job to someone else doesn’t mean you can forget about it and magically wish for it to be done to perfection without lifting a finger. Alas, you are still responsible for the results, whether you like it or not. You still have to check on the progress of the work regularly, ensure it’s on time and everyone is on the same page when it comes to deliverables. The job is not done until it’s been successfully completed.
Believe it or not, the ability to delegate effectively has a double payoff and you get to win a more popular title. You’ll save time, which you can spend on other important projects and also send a signal to your colleagues and superiors that you’re an effective manager and an excellent team player – doesn’t get better than this, does it?
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